Huff Post Women picked up an article, written by a man, condemning the dude who used Twitter to call Mo’ne Davis a “slut”. The writer commends Davis for being gracious enough to forgive the dude and speak up on his behalf. But even though she’s forgiven him, the writer cannot.
I agree with the writer, it’s sad how often a child is the bigger person, forgiving an adult for their wrongs. My hope is that anyone who thought it might be ok to call a 13 year old girl a “slut [or to make jokes that sexualize little girls (Seth MacFarlane)] will rethink their point of view when said thirteen year old girl comes forward and says, ‘You did wrong, dude, but “everyone makes mistakes”; I’m going to forgive you.’ And then help you get reinstated on your sports team.
This girl did not have to respond to that dude. She could have responded with hate and condemnation. But she responded with love and compassion. She took the high road. She showed Good Sportsmanship.
The writer of the article agrees, Davis acted appropriately, but is still outraged a) (and rightly so) that she was even in this situation and b) that her reaction (and everyone’s praise of her actions) is some sort of Uncle Tom nonsense. He cites her forgiveness as another example of a black person “turning the other cheek” for a white person’s foolish mistakes. Ah, perspective! I saw it as yet another female “turning the other cheek” for a male’s boneheaded comments. That is my perspective. Way too often I’ve heard my young, male coworkers make comments about our female students dress, calling them “skanks” for wearing spaghetti strap tanks and using crude hyperbole to say “her shorts are too short”.
Women of all races, ages, and colors are expected to simply “accept” comments about their appearance, dress, and body whether it makes them uncomfortable or not. Once, in a bar, I wore my father’s old naval shirt complete with patches and our name stenciled across the front. A man I did not know, upon hearing the shirt’s history, commented “Wow, he must have been barrel-chested in his youth!” I turned away, done with him. He thought my reaction was extreme and tried to assure me it was a joke. I said, “Yeah, I know; I’m not talking to you.” There is possibly a version of this story out there where he is the innocent party and I am a stuck-up bitch. I will not, however, apologize for not talking to what was probably a perfectly normal dude who happened to make a creepy comment. This bonehead who called Mo’ne Davis a “slut” is probably a normal dude. Normal Dudes don’t realize what they think are acceptable comments aren’t until someone tells them, and even then they don’t always get it.
I think Mo’ne Davis is genuinely classy. She is an inspiring young person. But I also agree with the writer of the article, whether it’s institutionalized racism, or institutionalized sexism no one should be automatically expected to forgive and forget. It is those that do who are truly exceptional.