President Trump retweeted a fan-made video of himself swinging at a golf ball that hits his former rival, Hillary Clinton, in the back. The President, as is well known, is an avid golfer. These kinds of videos are fairly standard pieces of political humor that circulate online. Most people, in a less hypersensitive world, would simply chuckle at the video and move along. Not the mainstream media, though. For them, there are “messages” everywhere. And if it’s possible for someone to be offended (and with enough people involved, eventually someone is bound to take offense), then that person’s emotions trumps every other consideration. In the case of Golfballgate, radical feminists have volunteered to be today’s offendees.
The Chicago Tribune’s Heidi Stevens sees the golfball video as an attack on women, or a form of encouraging domestic violence. Stevens calls upon the women of Congress to band together to release a statement that they will block the White House’s legislative initiatives until Trump apologizes. Stevens may not have noticed that Congress as a whole has already done a fairly thorough job of gumming up the legislative works, so doing so in support of her idiosyncratic cause is likely to have a net effect of zero. Even so, Steven’s criticism of the video on the grounds of violence against women seems misplaced–there is nothing specific about hitting one’s political opponent with a golfball that is gender-dependent. One of the many male politicians that oppose Trump could just have easily been depicted in the video. To refrain from using Hillary in the video simply because she’s a woman would have been a form of “mimetic affirmative action.”
Feminists such as Stevens are always on the hunt to point a finger at male perpetrators. If you’re a male, you’re guilty until proven innocent. Tweets like Trump’s, they say, “validates” and “normalizes” violence against women. Remember that whenever you see someone use terms like “validate” and “normalize,” you’re dealing with an ideologue.
Any form of disagreement with the feminist line signifies “blaming the victim,” in their eyes. My concern with this ideology is that legitimate concepts like “situational awareness” will be thrown out the window in the rush toward promoting “grrl power.” It’s common sense that someone who wants to avoid being the victim of a crime should know who they are with, and watch out where they are going. Walking down the proverbial dark alley at night is a bad idea for anyone, even a man. Obviously, if someone does walk down a dark alley and becomes a victim of a crime, the blame is entirely on the criminal. People get robbed in broad daylight, too.
The feminist response to this situation is essentially “I shouldn’t have to be careful, you should teach your male child at an early age not to be violent.” It’s utopian to suggest, however, that humans are entirely a product of their environment or their parental upbringing, and that if everything is done perfectly no child will grow up to commit a crime. There are criminals who grow up in perfect homes with nice families who think all the approved thoughts and the kid still turns out bad. So women’s self-defense classes are still a good idea, and not a manifestation of “blaming the victim.”
Some criticize the President for tweeting these memes on the grounds that it’s not “presidential,” and generates more heat than light. That’s a traditional perspective (as in pre-2016), but these tweets are useful for smoking the likes of Stevens out of the woodwork. Trump’s Twitter account is a digital bully pulpit that finally gives conservatives an opportunity to hold up their end of the long-running Culture War that has been in progress at least since the days of Dan Quayle vs. Murphy Brown and Pat Buchanan’s speech at the 1992 Republican Convention.