Mike Pence vs. Rebecca Watson

In 2013, atheist blogger Rebecca Watson complained about her experience at an atheist convention.  Specifically, she complained that after a night of drinking, a male convention-goer invited her back to his hotel room.

"Don't take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting. Would you like to come back to my hotel room for coffee?" the anonymous male convention-goer asked Ms. Watson, after a night of drinking.

While many atheists dismissed the incident as trivial, feminists rushed to defend Rebecca Watson's honor.  Whatever his intentions, they argued, inviting a woman you just met back to your hotel room is inappropriate.

Given this, it was odd to see self-described feminists excoriating Mike Pence for his marital practices.  How could someone who sympathizes with Rebecca Watson's acute discomfort not sympathize with Mike Pence's marital practices?

In 2002, Mike Pence told The Hill he doesn't dine alone with any woman other than his wife, and that he doesn't go to parties where alcohol is served without his wife.  Sounds sensible, as feminists are always complaining about unwanted sexual advances in mixed-gender settings.  Would it not therefore be reasonable for a married man to take some precautions?

I underestimated the narrowness of contemporary feminism.  Where bawdy humor and unwanted sexual advances discourage women from participating in a particular activity, feminists demand that no expense be spared in remedying the situation.  At the same time, feminists have no respect for a married man's desire to protect his marriage.  Feminists are perfectly consistent; they care a great deal about gender equality but are indifferent to marriage.

Married people have legitimate reasons to avoid intimate situations with members of the opposite sex, reasons that go well beyond avoiding temptation.  They might not want to arouse the jealousy of their spouses, or perhaps they worry about the impression it will give others.

It's fair for feminists to ask what impact Pence's marital practices have on female employees.  However, they shouldn't ignore the legitimate concerns that motivate those practices; it isn't sexist to protect your marriage.  The problem is not that feminists care about gender equality; the problem is that they don't care about anything else.

In 2013, atheist blogger Rebecca Watson complained about her experience at an atheist convention.  Specifically, she complained that after a night of drinking, a male convention-goer invited her back to his hotel room.

"Don't take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting. Would you like to come back to my hotel room for coffee?" the anonymous male convention-goer asked Ms. Watson, after a night of drinking.

While many atheists dismissed the incident as trivial, feminists rushed to defend Rebecca Watson's honor.  Whatever his intentions, they argued, inviting a woman you just met back to your hotel room is inappropriate.

Given this, it was odd to see self-described feminists excoriating Mike Pence for his marital practices.  How could someone who sympathizes with Rebecca Watson's acute discomfort not sympathize with Mike Pence's marital practices?

In 2002, Mike Pence told The Hill he doesn't dine alone with any woman other than his wife, and that he doesn't go to parties where alcohol is served without his wife.  Sounds sensible, as feminists are always complaining about unwanted sexual advances in mixed-gender settings.  Would it not therefore be reasonable for a married man to take some precautions?

I underestimated the narrowness of contemporary feminism.  Where bawdy humor and unwanted sexual advances discourage women from participating in a particular activity, feminists demand that no expense be spared in remedying the situation.  At the same time, feminists have no respect for a married man's desire to protect his marriage.  Feminists are perfectly consistent; they care a great deal about gender equality but are indifferent to marriage.

Married people have legitimate reasons to avoid intimate situations with members of the opposite sex, reasons that go well beyond avoiding temptation.  They might not want to arouse the jealousy of their spouses, or perhaps they worry about the impression it will give others.

It's fair for feminists to ask what impact Pence's marital practices have on female employees.  However, they shouldn't ignore the legitimate concerns that motivate those practices; it isn't sexist to protect your marriage.  The problem is not that feminists care about gender equality; the problem is that they don't care about anything else.