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Women are Snakes

March 12, 2013

I go to a local branch of a national gym chain.  The other day I noticed a young man wearing a t-shirt that said “Women are Snakes” mixed with an illustration of a snake.  It wasn’t the easiest text to read, but neither was it actually hidden.  I don’t know how many other people noticed the words on his t-shirt.

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It is misogyny, plain and simple.  No better or worse than if he’d been exhibiting an anti-semitic, anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-Asian or homophobic message.

My first thought was to go to the gym’s management and bring it to their attention.  I figured they might tell the guy that he couldn’t wear the shirt at the gym.

I brought it to the attention of my gym friend Steve, with whom I talk two or three days a week, often about political matters.  We’re both liberals, though I’m not fond of the term.

Steve brought me to my senses.  Freedom of speech.  Whatever I thought of the sentiment expressed on the young man’s t-shirt, his right to express the sentiment is protected by the first amendment of the U.S. constitution.  And it’s an important, in fact a very, very important protection.

Yes, I found the t-shirt’s words objectionable.  Suppose someone else wore a t-shirt that showed two men getting married.  Or had text that expressed a disdain for gun owners.  Someone else might object to that.  There are myriad sentiments that might be expressed and might be objected to by one person or another.

But, thankfully, we live in a society where such expressions, while many might frown on them, are not illegal.  And this is more important than what I may find objectionable.

I’m glad I spoke with Steve.  He woke me up.

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One Comment
  1. It’s a tricky one: freedom of speech versus freedom to be free from hate speech. Glad you posted this!

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