Prof. David Benatar’s book “The Second Sexism” has attracted a rather hostile reception. But some of Benatar’s critics seem so offended by the book’s premise that they’re unwilling to engage with its arguments – or sometimes, to even read the book in order to make an informed assessment.
The point is not only a “real legitimate expectation of privacy”, but also that the bounds of what is private and what is public are being affected, where everyone you meet could take on a paparrazzi role. Yet we are not all celebrities, and it seems disingenuous to argue that we can treat any random female cricket spectator as if she were.
Drawing a line between hypersensitivity and justified affront is sometimes rather difficult. And while outrage is easy to manufacture, and difficult to ignore, the fact that someone is offended doesn’t mean that they are justified.
The boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable offence (ie. merely risqué rather than legitimately problematic) are not only subjective, but also present a slippery slope problem. With the withdrawal of the T-shirts without any substantive engagement – and with the polarisation of the debate evidenced in the Davis column linked at the top – a new level of what is acceptable and not has been set.