When you think of great feminist triumphs, Miami isn't exactly the first place that springs to mind. But in a Huffington Post discussion that's gone viral this week, University of Miami law professor Mary Anne Franks made the women of South Florida proud by cooly and coherently rejecting the sexist ravings and insults hurled at her by fellow panelist Gavin McInnes.
Perhaps it wasn't fair to pit McInnes against Franks, who graduated from Harvard Law School and was a Bigelow Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School before joining the UM faculty. (She has also offered comment in recent New Times articles, including Michael E. Miller's recent coverage of revenge porn in Florida.)
McInnes, meanwhile, founded Vice magazine in 2008. Wikipedia calls him "the godfather of hipsterdom." D.C. blog Wonkette, perhaps more aptly, calls him a "sad aging beardo hipster." Either way, his comments in the HuffPo discussion were vile enough to make hipsters everywhere shave their faces and relinquish their funny glasses:
To sum up McInnes' points:
- Evolution means women should stay home and have babies.
- Feminism hurts women.
- Male violence feeds hungry babies.
- Parenting (uh, "shaping lives") is the greatest job in the world -- but men can't do it.
- Feminists are trying to force women to become men.
We've heard these sad, angsty songs before; they're rallying cries for so-called men's rights groups that have formed as a backlash to the progress women and feminism have made over the past several decades. Working women are unnatural because Darwin says so! You can't blame men for rape and violence, really, because it's hardwired into their brains! All women think one way, and all men think another way, and there's no changing that, so go make me a sandwich, honey, because it's your life's fulfilling mission.
Thankfully, Franks totally dominated McInnes in her responses to this nonsense -- even keeping her cool after McInnes charmingly called her a "fucking idiot" on air:
Franks: "Gavin is in fact presenting what is wrong with masculinity right now. It's this insistence that things have to be a certain way --"
McInnes: "I'm not insisting anything, you fucking idiot!"
Franks: "Oh. See, exactly. That's what masculinity looks like... Now, why is Gavin so scared? Why is he so frightened of the fact that some women don't want to have kids, some women do, some men want to take care of their kids, some men don't, and nothing should be frightening about that. The only thing people need to be scared of is people like Gavin."
That's only one choice gem in this lopsided debate. Do yourself a favor and watch it. Ms. Franks, you have made Miami proud.
Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.