Erin Wotherspoon has hit the big time on reddit the last few weeks (and months) for her controversial blog, in which she purposefully and, with a certain level of malice, dates men whom she deems to be unworthy of her "face and charm" (radio interview snippets), all in the name of eating expensive food. Now, I haven't sat down to fully dissect my feelings on the ethics of her behaviour, but I'm fairly confident I've reached a few conclusions already:
For a blog which she claims to be ever as much a restaurant critique as it is a detailing of her "romantic" life, I find her writing style far too narcissitic to be of any use to anyone actually interested in the restaurant experiences. She is one of the most self-concerned human beings I've ever seen, actually, though I still haven't made up my mind with regard to whether or not this is clinical narcissism, or an attempt to achieve celebrity via a somewhat similar method used by Tucker Max, a repulsive and disgusting human being.
The jury is still out...
Next, it occurred to me that certain men have - for as long as "civilized" dating has existed - courted, wined, and dined women, for the express purpose of having intercourse with, then afterward disposing of them, as though they were bad curry. Now, the feminist in me wants to say "fair is fair" and leave it at that. After all, I think the conclusion that being used for food is less harmless than being used for sex is generally true, but there are several much more complex and sinister implications involved with what she is doing. Namely, that she is publicly blogging about, in a maligning and humiliating fashion, her self-described terrible experiences. If a man were to scribe a similar blog, in which he detailed his dates as "ugly", "2 or 3s out of 10", "clueless", and "dispensable", I dare say the backlash would be enormous. I've come across comments all over the internet that point out the cultural zeitgeist of exploitation geared at women, and these are fair and accurate statements.
That said, any man worth his salt won't be ok with this exploitation, will he? He'll stand up for women, recognizing that they are every bit as imperative to society as men are. He'll know that they are strong, they are capable, they are great thinkers, they are innovators, they are leaders, they are our sisters. He'll tell his children that women are not second-class citizens, they aren't a pretty toy to use to masturbate into, they aren't anything to be taken for granted, and they most certainly are not EVER, means to an end.
Therein lies the hypocrisy for me. Addressing the horrors that men have inflicted on our current culture, a systemic and ancient ignorance that we have yet to slay (regardless of validity), does not in any way, shape, or form, excuse her disgusting betrayals. Yes, men are wrong to treat women as anything short of equals who are integral to our progress and existence. It is equally unethical for women to conduct themselves in this manner. Being historically mistreated does not warrant or excuse the mistreatment of others. She is not taking back ground or fighting for women's rights, she is shaming and belittling her dates, all of whom (insofar as I can tell) had done nothing to warrant her abuse.
"Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end."