Bill O’Reilly’s segment from last Wednesday — the one in which he asks Kirsten Powers and Kate Obenshain to expound on some mysterious quality that makes women somehow less qualified than men to be president — has to be the most awkward moment of television.
I sympathize with the urge to respond to the clip with mockery. But sometimes a glimmer of truth can be found even in the tawdriest of settings — and it’s Powers who deserves credit for uttering it here. Wracking her brain for something to say in response to O’Reilly’s flippantly sexist provocation, Powers volunteers that a female president might be more easily goaded than a male president into military muscle-flexing as a way of demonstrating her toughness.
I like this comment not only because it undercuts O’Reilly’s smarmy insinuation that a woman would be too weak to stand toe-t-toe with macho tough guys like Vladimir Putin. I also like it because it may well be true.
I have a real issue when people talk about porn as if it was one big, homogenous mass. It’s like talking about literature as just one type.
The fact is — however unfair, however much it pains us to admit it — in some areas, men and women are not equal. Is it worth checking a box marked “Equality” at the expense of the operational effectiveness of combat units? Is it worth putting young men at risk so that we, the enlightened Western liberals, might have a new accomplishment to discuss over gougères at cocktail parties? This week, the Obama administration says, yes, that’s perfectly okay. Accordingly, a platoon can and will be less combat effective in the name of equality.