What an education it is to be the father of girls. Every male knows from bitter personal experience what brutes some of our Y chromosome brethren can be; still, it is sobering to view predatory male behavior from the perspective of young women that you used to tuck into their cribs. One evening last year, I was walking with my daughters — then 21 and 17 — on a commercial street when two liquored-up men in their 30s stopped dead in their tracks to leer at them. With brazen lust and disrespect, they looked them up and down and wheeled to watch them go past — grinning hyenas eyeing prey. A volcanic fury rose in me. "What is wrong with you?" I said, cursing, and stepped toward them. They chuckled as they slinked away. My daughters told me to calm down. It happens all the time, they said. Indeed, they've experienced much worse. Like all women, they know only too well how creepy and menacing the male of the species can be.
Last week's misogyny-driven shooting rampage in Santa Barbara gave rise to two Twitter hashtags, #NotAllMen and #YesAllWomen. In theirs, women poured out their stories and anguish about the sexual harassment, threats, rapes, and violence that circumscribe their lives. Defensively, men insisted that sexism is exaggerated, and that true misogyny is rare. To them I say: Try having a daughter. Witness grown men ogling her when she's still in high school. Live with the reality that she is not safe if she's on a college campus, in the Army, on the internet, alone on a street, or even in the company of men she thinks she knows. No, it's not all men. But it's too damn many.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- America is building a Sunni army in Iraq to take on the Islamic State
- The liberation of Barack Obama
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- The age of miracles is over — even for the religious
Subscribe to the Week