Mere weeks after public outcry over a gay teen’s suicide and months of ‘It Get’s Better’ campaigns, the last thing I expected to read was Christie Blatchford’s article in Canada’s National Post newspaper, where she writes that Toronto is full of sissies because men hug. The hugs are but the tip of the iceberg in a list of activities from men who are too close to their feminine side for Ms Blatchford.
Rebuttals are loud and clear—from the comments on her article to the Huffington Post and countless bloggers—though her defenders balance the commentary too much for me to think she is alone in her delusions.
I get it. It makes her uncomfortable, and she’s doesn’t think it’s a manly thing to do. She’s not attracted to men who are comfortable expressing their emotions or showing genuine affection for a male friend. Whatever. And so what.
What’s scary to me, though, is where she takes her preference for aggressive men and shifts it back on society as a solution to a very real problem. Her comments are inexcusably irresponsible.
“I remain convinced that the best way to stop a bully is… to take the bully out for a short pounding after school. I don’t mean the victims should do this, but rather others. The onus for stopping bullies lies not with the people being bullied, but with those who see it happen. This has been true for centuries, and it is still true, and it works equally well in the locker room, the office, a bar, and on the factory floor or street.”
Her ignorance of bullying, social norms, history and gay culture come together in one horrifically misguided article. While many people read her column with disgust, a few will see it as validation for their taunts and teasing. And so the cycle of bullying continues.
Since my son was little, I have treasured every moment that he let’s me hug him in public. I fear that there will be a day that someone like Ms. Blatchford uses the word “sissy” about boys and hugs, and it may be enough to make him uncomfortable with any future hug from me, his mom or a friend. Worse, an innocent hug may be enough for a bully to act.
I won’t know when the last real, unguarded hug will happen, but with articles like her’s, I fear it’s closer than ever.