A female student told economist Christina Hoff Sommers that she was “mini-raped” because a male student told her she had “great legs.” It is, Sommers explained on Bill Maher’s show, ludicrous and counterproductive.
Real Time host Bill Maher gets a lot of flack from conservatives because he’s an outspoken atheist. He believes that all religion is nonsense, and he’s open and honest about that. Brutally honest, even. Many conservatives can’t deal with that, which is why they refuse to watch his show. He’s supposedly a “liberal,” and so he can be ignored.
That’s a pity. Because Bill Maher isn’t only ultra-direct when it comes to religion, but also when it comes to other cultural issues and politics. The man fears nothing and nobody, and detests political correctness. That alone is extremely refreshing nowadays. Just think, how many shows are there on cable with a host that refuses to play the PC game?
Recently, Maher invited economist Christina Hoff Sommers on his show. Sommers is extremely controversial in “liberal” circles because she regularly wipes the floor with modern feminism and the “microaggression” culture on college campuses. Modern feminists, she argues, love playing the victim while they are no such thing.
Just to show how crazy the feminist movement has become, Sommers told Maher that a female college student recently informed her that she was “mini-raped.” Yes, that’s a real thing. You can be “mini-raped” nowadays. What happened is that a male student, who saw her, commented on her legs. “Great legs!” he said to her. In the eyes of the female student, that compliment constitutes “mini-rape.”
“They need not equality with men,” Sommers said about modern feminists, “but protection.” When Maher pointed out that one such “feminist” recently said she was shocked when Joe Biden put his hands on her shoulders, Sommers responded: “This is the madness.”
“On the campuses, they use the language of catastrophe to characterize day-to-day life on the campus.” That’s where the example of the student who was “min-raped” came in. Another example is using the phrase “you guys.” Apparently, “women can’t handle that.” This culture of complaining about literally nothing “trivializes feminism, it trivializes genuine” abuse, Sommers said.
Maher agreed completely with Sommers. He added, though, that there really are gender issues. Sommers, he said, once made clear that the concept of “male privilege” is a “conspiracy theory.” “No, no,” Sommers responded, “I think that men have privileges, but so have women. If you look at contemporary America what you see is a complicated mix of advantages and burdens for each sex. For example, women are far more privileged in the classroom… boys are barely tolerated these days in classrooms.”
The host then added that “also, men die. They die in workplace accidents. 92% of people who die in workplace accidents are men. Murder victims: 78%. Suicide: 78%. 85% go into combat. For the same crime, 63% longer sentences if you are a man. So yeah, I get your point that there are bad things to being a man too.”
Next, they switched to the pay gap about which Sommers is “controversial,” according to Maher. Well, she explained, she doesn’t think of herself as controversial at all. There is indeed a 20%-23% pay gap between men and women, but a good economist can’t just automatically conclude that this means discrimination is involved. Other factors have to be taken into account.
“What did they study in school? What job are they in? How many hours a week do they work? How long do they commute? How dangerous is the job? When you factor in these various things, the wage gap begins to narrow to the point of vanishing,” Sommers explained.
Maher then added another point: women are less good at negotiating their wages. “That doesn’t explain the gap” either, Sommers said. “Most of the gap is explained” by the other factors mentioned above, and especially by the fact that more men are willing to work “punishing hours.” Perhaps more women would also like to do that, but feel they have to take care of the kids. “That’s an interesting discussion,” Sommers said, “but notice that isn’t because employers aren’t cheating them. It’s because men and women are behaving slightly differently.”
What’s more, Maher rightfully interjected, it’s not up to men to teach women how to negotiate better. That’s up to them.
All true, and it’s extremely refreshing to watch a common-sense conversation about these issues on “Real Time” — or any other TV show for that matter. Maher may not be “one of us,” but he’s definitely not “one of them” either.