One of the plagues of our age is people pretending not to know things everyone knew until yesterday.
Like the fact that men will walk around a supermarket, theme park, or sporting venue – utterly lost – and refuse to ask for directions. Or the fact that women (often the wives or girlfriends of said men) will eventually snap and ask for directions, fail to understand them, and then get irritated because their man (who does understand directions) wasn’t listening.
Men break council by-laws by drinking in parks or setting up portable barbecues. Women report them to the police. Men refuse to wear masks or maintain social distancing. Women berate them in public. Men get arsey about confrontation and either respond aggressively or start filming the woman in question. Out of context video clips go viral and the internet dines out on people disgracing themselves for entertainment.
At first, “Karens” were supposed to be middle-class white women (lower-middle-class in the more fine-grained UK class system) who took a pop at black men and used “white tears” to garner sympathy when challenged. Like all these things, however, social media took that understanding and blew it to pieces. The worst Karens one sees these days are white supporters of Black Lives Matter hassling Asian-American diners in Washington DC, or black female Black Lives Matter protesters screaming in spittle-flecked derangement at black men guarding statues from the depredations those demonstrators wish to visit upon them.
This behaviour almost certainly has biological roots, and while I’m good at assessing evidence, that’s because I’m a lawyer, not a scientist. I’ll leave its evolutionary origins to people who can actually prove their case, not simply understand it. The point is that women have always been statistically more likely to ask for the manager, micromanage everyone else’s behaviour, and curtain-twitch or dob to authority. The “Scold’s Bridle” didn’t exist because women were quiet, but because they ran their mouths.
I saw Goody Proctor with the Devil!
That doesn’t make treating female kibitzers in such a way right, but it does mean recognising it was done for a reason. In much the same way, a number of civilisations (often ones where women had relatively high status) castrated rapists. This was a bullet-proof way of ensuring they didn’t do it again.
These average differences in male and female behaviour are a comedy staple going back to Roman times – as soon as actresses played female parts, rather than boys. Greek comedy (where all the actors were male) is camp. Roman comedy is distinctly sit-com-ish, wall-to-wall with wannabe Lotharios and ... Karens.
Russian-Brit comedian Konstantin Kisin says comedy playing on conflicts between the sexes has become “edgy” again. “It was stale, because it was so obvious,” he points out. “Contemporary social justice movements have tried to make it not obvious”. This is what comes of pretending not to know things we have always known. It’s this pretence that allows men in dresses to get away with thinking “being a woman” is all nail polish, glitter, and big hair rather than gossip, mean girls, and running to teacher. The pretence is evident in transactivism’s repeated threats of violence: statistically, men are much more likely to get into fisticuffs. This includes men in dresses.
I’m afraid “speak up” feminism has a habit of turning women into the worst versions of themselves. Meanwhile – as though reflected in a weird, funhouse watch me make it even worse hall-of-mirrors – Men’s Rights Activism turns blokes into cartoon sex-pests who want to unpick the extent to which not only feminism but State authority generally sends them to gaol for what was once acceptable male behaviour.
Feminism made it all right to say you don’t want children because you have white carpets and a suede sofa. It didn’t make it all right to wokescold civilisation into submission.