Video game critic Anita Sarkeesian was set to give a speech at Utah State University tomorrow.  Past tense there.  Today a threat was sent to the school, promising “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if the speaking wasn’t canceled because he claims, “feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all the others they’ve wronged.”

threatThis is 2014, and women are still threatened for having the sheer gall to possess a vagina.  Sarkeesian had no real choice.  The event is off.  The risks extended beyond her own life.

Also at issue us the fact that the police will still allow concealed carries at the event.  That’s right.  Despite the threat of a mass shooting, the police will literally allow people to waltz right in there with guns.  Don’t they realize that many mass shootings are carried out using legally-acquired and registered guns?  I’m all for the second amendment, with reasonable control, and am even in favor of allowing concealed carries, but again, within reason.  When there’s a threat of mass shooting, that’s a time when all weapons should be banned from an event.  I doubt the police in Utah would allow guns at an event with president was attending.  In fact, they wouldn’t have any say–there’d be no guns.  There’d be no purses larger than small purses.  I know.  I received an invitation to an event with Joe Biden (which I wouldn’t attend due to not being able to find anyone to pick up my daughter from school), and the instructions for attending were explicit about this.  This event was in a state where it’s legal to carry assault rifles on your back.  No guns where there are politicians.  So there would be none at a political event in Utah, even without a threat.

So why is it okay to allow guns at an event where there is a threat against women?  How can anyone sand behind allowing guns to an event when there is a threat of many women being killed?  Will 4Chan and other men’s rights activists on the internet come to the defense of the jerk issuing this threat, the way Elliott Rodger received support and was called a hero?

How have women ruined the lives of me?  We aren’t asking for more rights.  We’re asking for equal rights and equal protections, nothing more.  We aren’t asking for privileges not afforded to anyone else.  Despite people like Pat Robertson claiming for decades that we want equal rights so we can “leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians,” there is no such thing as a big, bad feminist agenda any more than there’s a big, bad gay agenda.  If there’s any agenda at all, it’s solely to get equal rights.  Equal.  EQUAL.  Oh, the horror, how dare we women and LGBT folks want to be treated as human beings with equal rights.  How veeeeery dare we.

The men who think we are ruining their lives for struggling for equal rights claim we have so much power that we can indeed ruin their lives.  The also tend to believe we women are took weak to have equal rights.  How can we both have the power to destroy the lives of men if we’re too weak to be able to handle equal pay and equal rights to our own bodily autonomy?  These things are like an unstoppable-by-any-means cannon ball and an immovable-by-any-means wall.  Only one can exist.  Are we strong enough to have the power?  Or are we too weak to open our own car doors, which the MRAs aren’t exactly going to do anyway?

A man who is truly secure enough in his manhood won’t be threatened by a woman on equal footing.  A man who is secure enough will welcome the challenge, the push to strive to be better than his opponent, regardless of the genitalia on the person beside him.  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates weren’t threatened enough by each other to want to demolish the competition.  While they competed, they also pushed each other to be better, and when necessary, helped each other along.  A man who is secure in himself will see a woman rival in the same light, not as a threat, but as someone to challenge, be challenged by, and to see it as a friendly race.  If Gates and Jobs had massive fortunes on the line (don’t fool yourself into thinking either Apple or Microsoft was beyond collapse–Apple very nearly did collapse, but got a hand up from…Microsoft), then there is nothing so great at risk that a man should feel the need to threaten murder, or at the least, legislate against equal rights.  Those are signs of weakness, of insecurity.

Elliott Rodger was a weak coward.  Whoever sent that threat to USU is a weak coward.  If anything, the anonymous threat-maker is a bigger coward for not having the balls to sign his name.  Who are you, you wuss?  It’s not my fault, or the fault of any other woman, that you are such a chicken.  If you’ve got a problem with us, well, you’re the one with a problem.  Get some help to get over it.  Prove you’re better than us instead of trying to smash us down.

To Anita Sarkeesian: As much as I hate to say it, as much as I hate to let a terrorist win, I think you made the right call.  I’d have done the same.  It’s not just your life at risk, but the lives of other women who have no power in any of this, women who may simply be heading to their classes.   I know you won’t let this threat stop you from speaking up about our rights and how we’re portrayed in video games, which extends, by its very nature, to pop culture.  The more we fight, the closer we will get.  Today we have more men in our corner than we did a couple decades ago.  Even if we are taking baby steps, an have the occasional step backward, we will keep moving forward.  People like that anonymous coward do more to help us than to hinder us.  People like that get other people talking, and bring awareness to how far we still have to go.  Even if we don’t see it in our lifetimes (I hope it won’t take that long), we will achieve equality, and sexist idiots will number so few that even trying to speak up gets you labeled a nutbar by everyone around you.  We’ve just got to keep pushing our way forward, and rely on each other for the strength, and look at the tiny little young girls around us who need a better world than we had, and have now.  Let them motivate us.  We can do this.