Just before winter break, my two sons, 8 and 13, started sitting down to pee.
This happened out of nowhere, a sudden absurdity, and when I asked them why, their reply was that their school had told them that this was a matter of respect for themselves and their surroundings.
I assumed this was another one of those childhood misunderstandings, so at drop-off the next day I took a few minutes to speak to the teachers and straighten the whole thing out, forgetting for a minute that in this day and age reality is far stranger than fiction.
The principal told me that their new bathroom policy was a smashing success, and that the gains outweighed any initial confusion. Pointing to a carefully printed and illustrated note on the wall of the boys’ bathroom urging everyone to sit down while they urinate, she told me that not only are the bathrooms far easier to clean now that all the boys are sitting down, but the new policy would also minimize the risk of them having prostate cancer later in life. She looked proud, convinced that she had won me over with that flawless bit of logic. But my heart fell as I realized the battle I had before me, as the mother of two young sons.
Sweden has gotten a reputation for being a feminist state, a progressive haven of sorts where gender is fought as if it were an enemy battalion. This is supposed to lead to equality, but the feminist hegemony seems to practice willful forgetfulness when it comes to the plight of actual women in actual peril at the end of the subway line where they dare not go.
In the past years the demography in this country has changed dramatically, and it has brought with it a society within the society, with its own rules and laws, enforced by young Muslim men who have taken it upon themselves to police the banlieues and control the women who live there. These women have raised their voices at great personal risk, asking for help from the liberal society and the feminists whose chants are usually so proud and so loud. But there is no aid for the aching, for the feminists know that actual patriarchy comes with actual danger and they are unwilling to pay that price.
They say that to identify your true oppressor, just see whom you aren’t allowed to criticize, and by that logic the white man is no danger to society at all. The feminism of today is busy kicking in open doors, cutting down straw men in the form of campus rape-culture, standing up-peeing and man-splaining, rather than fighting the culture that beheads, rapes and stones women who dare fall out of the fold. The so-called liberals of today are abandoning women across the world out of cowardice and orientalism, and in doing so they are defiling the values their ideology was built on, the liberalism that would never allow the kind of re-education-culture that forces boys to sit down to pee in the name of progressivism and good.
I am raising my boys to be men, something that is increasingly difficult in a world that keeps telling them that to be a man is not a point of pride but rather change-worthy behavior to be un-learned, and that in interaction with women they are guilty until proven innocent. I tell my boys that to be a man is to be a protector, a provider and a leader, and that masculinity is a beautiful thing.
But what I see happening in society is an advanced form of man-shaming, where a predatory scarlet letter is placed on anyone daring not to denounce his sex. And we must ask ourselves: What happens to a boy who grows up to feel shame about his masculinity? How will he view himself and how will he view sex, as an expression of manhood and an expression of self? And furthermore, what behaviors are we silently condoning while we are busy with these made-up wars? And what bad men are given blank checks as we tell good men to literally sit down and shut up?
Real oppression isn’t expressed through man-spreading on the bus or a patriarchal urinal, but it maims and takes lives and locks women into a prison of body and mind. So instead of demanding safe spaces, western feminists should offer them to the truly oppressed, by daring to take on the actual oppressor, and stepping away from a false and comfortable trope.
This article was first published in Washington Examiner