I Don’t Hate Housewives – A Response to Matt Walsh’s Post
Yesterday morning my Twitter blew up with reactions to a tweet I had sent to blogger Matt Walsh. Matt is someone who I have major issues with, to put it mildly. He is political, Christian, and condemnatory, three things together that can make a dangerous, volatile mix. Some of the things Matt likes to passionately attack are feminism, LGBT people, and liberals (or progressives.) He does this in a way that infantilizes people, reducing them to their “illogical feelings.”
Like I said, I don’t like the guy (because of what he says.)
It was only after someone alerted me to the fact that Matt had mentioned my tweet in his recent post, that all of the people angry at me on Twitter made sense. Here is the tweet I sent him that he embedded in his post:
And this is the follow-up one I sent, that he didn’t include:
The second tweet makes it clear that the Ann Coulter swipe was a joke, not an attack on her gender (I think calling her a “man” as an insult is stupid and offensive.)
So why did I tweet that? Or, to answer the question a lot of people on Twitter asked me, why do I care how many women Matt follows? Because it matters – women are who Matt frequently writes about. Specially, women who he thinks are “wrong” for thinking differently than him.
I’m well aware that who one follows on Twitter does not exactly indicate who one holds most dear – I follow Homer Simpson after all. But my point was that, at least on the platform he uses frequently, Matt shows that the voices he values most are 1) men, and in a much smaller number 2) women, many who hold the kind of “anti-feminist” traditional roles that Matt things serve women best. Of course, the fact that he doesn’t follow Rachel Held Evans or Sarah Bessey doesn’t prove that he never listens to his sisters-in-Christ who have different views than him. It doesn’t prove this, but it sure raises some questions.
If this seems petty for me to do this, let me clarify why I think pointing something like this out matters. Matt Walsh is not some fringe blogger with no followers, spouting off his condescension into the void. He’s a popular voice from the Christian right with a very large following, who take his words very seriously.
A lot of his following (from what I gathered on Twitter) are women. The ones who tweeted me were very conservative, and took offense to my complaint that most of the few women Matt follows on Twitter are (self-proclaimed) “housewives.”
Let me be very clear – I have no problem with women who stay home to take care of their children, whether by choice, or by necessity. Childcare isn’t cheap, and for millions of women, staying home makes the most financial sense. I tweeted this yesterday afternoon, to try and quell some of the outrage:
My tweet was not sent to attack the women who follow Matt. It was sent to critique the man who thinks nothing of claiming that he knows the truth, the absolute truth, about people who he doesn’t even listen to. How many feminists has Matt actually talked to, civilly? Getting “hate mail” doesn’t count. For that matter, how many trans people? The death threats he says he received (as well as my tweet) were all in response to his incredibly hateful post which completely dismissed a trans child, and in turn, all trans people. Has he ever actually listened to a trans person? Maybe one of the 41% of trans people who attempted suicide because people like him didn’t believe them and dismissed their existence? I highly doubt it. If he had, he would know how hateful (yes, hateful) it is to purposely and repeatedly misgender someone. Like he did.
Matt likes to complain that liberals don’t operate with facts and logic, but with feelings. Well statistics like the one above are facts, ones that should cause decent humans beings to feel. If knowing that almost half of trans people try to kill themselves doesn’t inspire you to feel something, then something is seriously wrong with you.
Here’s something that’s different between Matt and I: I try and reserve my anger for the people who attack others for living lives that they deem “wrong”, not people who I simply disagree with. I don’t get angry at people who are simply trying to live their lives in a way I don’t understand. I’m not a parent, like Matt is. I don’t understand what it’s like to devote your life to a child, or, like many of my friends, multiple children. The strong desire to be a parent is something I haven’t felt (yet.) Many of my friends have gotten great joy from having multiple children in short succession, and I don’t get how they do it, let alone how they love it. But just because I don’t get it, doesn’t mean I think I have any right to tell them that they are WRONG. Is it what I want for my life? Probably not. But who am I to say that just because someone chooses something foreign to me, they are the one who are wrong?
Telling people they are WRONG is what Matt does every day. He tells LGBT people they are WRONG for wanting the right to marry. He tells Christian feminists they are WRONG for claiming they have a right to their own bodies, and he tells the people who criticize him that they are WRONG for not seeing the “truths” that he spouts.
I think Matt is wrong on almost everything. But the reason I sent that tweet wasn’t because I wanted him to simply agree with me, it’s because I want him to stop angrily attacking people who just want to live their lives. LGBT people are not a fascist mob trying to take away straight people’s rights. Granting gay marriage does nothing to harm traditional marriage. Allowing trans people the dignity of their identity doesn’t cost people like Matt anything, except maybe their ire. But allowing people like Mr. Walsh to spew unbridled contempt and hate at marginalized people DOES hurt, and does take away rights, and is WRONG.
Matt likes to use threatening hate mail from “liberals” as a reason to prove that all progressives are violent, crazy, rabid lunatics wanting him dead. I don’t want him dead. David Hayward, who Matt also responded to in his recent post, doesn’t want him dead either. In fact, there are lots of sane, calm, progressive people who have criticized Matt without wishing him death, who he somehow always forgets to post mail from.
Maybe that’s because, like I suspected in my tweet, Matt Walsh only listens to the voices who tell him that he’s right, and anyone who disagrees with him is crazy. But that’s just one feminist woman’s opinion. He’s free to prove me wrong.