I often internally chastise people for getting upset about things that people on the internet say. People who flame on forums or take some independent trolling too personally make me shake my head. It’s the Internet, folks. Come on. When you throw something out there to the masses, anything can happen.
So, when I tell you that two Reddit threads sent me into a vitriolic frenzy, believe me when I say that it’s not the threads in and of themselves that upset me, but, rather, that they are representative of a larger trend I see from libertarians.
The other morning I was doing my typical half-asleep Reddit browsing and came across a picture of three women representing the VA Tech Libertarians. I read through the comments decrying the ratio of libertarian women to men and thought “Hey! I ran a student group at my college that consisted entirely of women! Let me see if I can fish up a picture of us and ride this karma train.”
I found a picture of two sister libertarians and myself with Georgia Libertarian then-gubernatorial nominee John Monds. If you’re unfamiliar, John Monds is a medium-sized deal for Libertarians. I tossed it on the subreddit.
I wasn’t expecting much. In my picture, we are dressed down, clearly stressed during finals. In the VA Tech post, the women are, quite simply, much better put together. I was not surprised to see that their picture was more popular than mine. Whatevs. It’s the Internet. No. Big. Deal.
This comment, however, really riled me up:
I wouldn’t be angry about one asshat if it wasn’t for the other comments. The thread for the VA Tech libertarians contains quite a bit of whining about the lack of women libertarians, all of which at least imply that the reason why they are sad is because they need a romantic partner.
You want one of the reasons why women aren’t libertarians, you look right there at these threads. It’s rich how in one breath some libertarians decry the lack of women in the movement and in the next appraise the ones that do exist on their looks. As if we were some kind of meat to be evaluated, or, worse, only valuable insofar as we were pretty and romantically available.
It’s not just the Internet, either. You listen to conversations of libertarian men talking about libertarian women. You look at the wild popularity of Pin-ups for Ron Paul and think for a second about why they are so popular. You see these things and you tell me libertarians are immune to sexism.
Women aren’t being valued in these instances because they bring a unique set of experiences, desires, and perspectives to libertarianism. They are not being valued for their individuality. They are being valued here only because they are pretty women. You guys, that’s sexism.
The thing that kills me is that libertarians will be the first to tell you that they are incapable of sexism, because sexism entails not seeing someone as an individual, and libertarians are all about the individual, man. Libertarianism is all about the individual, and that is why we have got to be better about pointing out this “collectivist” thought when we see it and not just let it slide idly by.