As women have entered positions of power, equaled men in earnings, and outstripped men in education, men have begun to fight back against this ongoing assault. In doing so, they have begun to treat women — well, as roughly as they treat one another. The insults are different because the genders are different — in much the same way I will call a woman “sweetheart,” when I would call a man “pal” — but the feeling behind them is largely the same. Peggy Noonan calls this “the coarsening of discourse in public life.” But that’s generally a complaint made by those who want to dish it out but can’t take it. To paraphrase Shakespeare, men have been called dogs for decades, now women have to beware their fangs.
You can’t expect men to treat women with the special respect they once earned by being ladies if women are no longer going to behave in the way that earned them that special respect. A lady was an elevated personage precisely because she kept out of the workaday fray. She exhibited greater gentleness and generosity in the full knowledge that men would provide the muscle and money to protect her — and for that protection she returned deference and respect. You may say, well, then it’s a good thing women aren’t expected to be ladies anymore. Fine, but everything comes with a price. If feminists are going to verbally assault men then misogynists (a misogynist being the flip side of a feminist) are going to fire back. If women are going to compete in the market place using their beauty and sex appeal, men are going to compete using their aggression and toughness. No fair complaining. You can’t have women linebackers but say it’s not right to block them because, after all, they’re just girls.
Listen, personally, I believe in treating people with kindness and respect whenever possible. I believe in good manners and feel too many people mistake bad manners for strength when they are almost always evidence of a weakness. But there’s plenty of unkindness, disrespect, and bad manners to go around in both genders and I don’t see why I should feel that women suffer from them specially. Indeed, as I understand it, women don’t want to be special anymore.