The View From Here | Hoping for a Better Tomorrow

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The world of viral content is a curious one, from current events — clips from Oprah Winfrey’s ballyhooed speech at the Golden Globes this week spring to mind — to decidedly lowball humor and things catering to prurient tastes.

The videos, pictures and memes floating around cyberspace and clogging our Facebook feeds and email inboxes can inspire, they can frighten and they can sicken, even while generating more than a few chuckles.

It’s in that latter category that I place the various items of the “shaming” genre, a subset of content that highlights the stupidity, weirdness and less-than-stellar appearances of so much of the human species. Recently, I’ve been on the receiving end of several videos claiming to highlight the idiocy of fellow human beings, and I’ve noticed that those featuring women are radically different than those featuring men.


This is by no means a scientific conclusion, of course, but from what I can tell, you’re much more likely to see clips of women acting dumb in an intellectual way, while those featuring men’s stupid behavior generally focus on the physical.

One so-called prankster, Brad Holmes, even has an entire line of such videos on YouTube. They consist of Holmes, behind the camera, having a conversation with his fiancée to show the world just how much “she doesn’t get it.” One that keeps making the rounds of social media is of fiancée Jennifer not understanding that no matter how you slice a large pizza — eight or 12 slices, for example — it’s still the same amount of pizza.

When given a choice at a pizza shop, into how many slices would Jennifer ask that her pizza be cut?

“Eight, because I wouldn’t be able to eat 12,” she answers. “I can’t eat an extra four.”

No matter how hard Holmes tries to explain, she keeps repeating her original answer, albeit with more exasperation each time.

It’s clearly funny — as is another clip working its way around the internet that shows a woman not understanding how to lock a gate — but it’s difficult to find videos of men failing to comprehend something. You’re more likely to come across male-centered videos of The Three Stooges or Jackass variety — i.e., simple tasks gone horribly wrong.

There’s an inherent sexism at work here, just as there’s an inherent classism behind the truly offensive People of Walmart website, which posts embarrassing pictures of Walmart shoppers for the whole world to see. “Boys being boys” in a physical way clearly plays to a gender-specific stereotype, just as Holmes’ fiancée, though not blonde herself, plays to the “dumb blonde” view of women.

None of this reflects well on humanity. Now that we as a society are waist-deep in the moral reckoning sparked by the #MeToo movement, in addition to calling out the current and past actions by a host of male bad actors in our businesses and communities, we must also re-examine the noxious ideas that lead us to view others as anything less than full and equal members of the human race.

On the whole, men are no smarter or more capable than women, and yet the pejorative word “ditz,” to which the dictionary ascribes no specific gender, is practically always used to describe a woman.

Winfrey earned headlines for her Globes speech, which many described as of a certain presidential caliber. In it, she charted the arc of her career, harkening to 1964 when she watched Sidney Poitier become the first black man to win the Academy Award for best actor. She equated the racial empowerment of that moment with the female awakening occurring in the present day, invoking the experiences of Recy Taylor, a black woman whose gang rape in 1944 was investigated by a young Rosa Parks.

“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up,” Winfrey said. “I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women … and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.”

Whether or not Winfrey runs for president in 2020 — some posited that the billionaire entertainer, who reportedly holds pro-Israel views and once sat for a televised interview in the Chabad-Lubavitch stronghold of Crown Heights, N.Y., would make a strong candidate — it’s important that no one expect a groundswell of change should she ever be elected. The mere presence of a President Winfrey in the White House will no more end entrenched sexism and gender-based violence than the election of President Obama cast racism to the trash bin of history.

That’s not to say that the election of the first black woman to the nation’s highest office wouldn’t be a welcome development. But the kind of change we need cannot be willed into existence by powerful politicians. It requires the dedicated efforts of parents and teachers who collectively determine that we will no longer raise a generation of people who believe that superiority is conferred by such immutable characteristics as gender or race.

My wife and I long ago committed ourselves to that cause. Who’s going to — who’s already — joined us?

Joshua Runyan is the editor-in-chief of the Jewish Exponent. He can be reached at [email protected]

1 COMMENT

  1. Gag. Really cringe-filled editorial of leftist Jews, the same Marxist policies that have killed more than 100 million people, and starved and enslaved countless others. The same policies of Democrats’ Klan, Jim Crow, slavery, segregation, oppression and anti-free speech. Better future comes with capitalism, freedom, individual choices and destiny. It’s Tesla vs. Yugo.

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