Dear Carolyn: My girlfriend and I are both female, and she has always had some anti-male leanings, but she has become unhinged with the recent sexual harassment news. She posts things on social media like: "All men are pigs. Yes, I said all."
Is there anything I can say or do to get my girlfriend to see things differently? Is your advice to me basically the same as your recent advice to the letter-writer with the racist fiance, that it's a dealbreaker?
Anonymous: No, and yes.
There is a distinction to be made here, to be fair. The column you refer to (bit.ly/NotTrivial) was about someone on the power side expressing hatred for those traditionally oppressed, whereas the power flows in the other direction with your girlfriend. She is in the mistreated demographic and railing against the group that abuses its power. On that narrow basis alone, your girlfriend’s outrage is less of an outrage than the racist fiance’s.
But it’s a distinction without a difference. Her outrage is an outrage — perhaps consequentially so if your girlfriend is in a line of work that has her supervising, advising, teaching, coaching, defending, admitting, hiring, firing, serving, caring for, feeding, protecting or treating boys or men.
Your girlfriend has hatred in her heart and has turned it upon just under half of the world. Worse, she sees nothing wrong with this. Worse still, she sees something wrong with people who see something wrong with this.
Worst of all, at least as it applies to the sustainability of your relationship, your own girlfriend has no respect for your judgment or worldview. Or you for hers.
These widely reported incidents of sexual harassment are crimes against the humanity of the individual women involved and against the humanity of women in general.
Your girlfriend’s fury likewise erases the humanity of men by denying even the possibility of individual culpability and innocence.
As someone who will defend to the last a person’s right to end a relationship over anything from bad kissing to reprehensible taste in pizza toppings — because if it matters to you, then it matters — I have no hesitation in advising you to walk away from someone, promptly, who harbors such profound contempt. Contempt for you or for men, take your pick.
Or leave just for her utter failure to see the irony in her rage or to admit her own faults.
We measure one person at a time based on that person’s actions, or we’re wrong, sides notwithstanding.
As with the racist fiance, it’s time for your girlfriend to seek treatment for an anger so profound it’s distorting her judgment. I urge you to suggest it. I suggest you urge it.
But I don’t recommend you stick around to see whether she does.