The other day I read about a street preacher who was letting the world know that women who wore yoga pants were partially to blame if they were raped. I could rant and rave about the idiocy of his statement. I could write line after line about how his statement is false. But, if I take out the emotion and look at it logically, I can simply say that women are never to blame for being raped; the street preacher is an idiot, and most probably an attention-seeking idiot.
Maybe he really believes what he bellows about women’s attire, among other topics. Maybe he honestly believes that being gay is an abomination. Maybe he really believes all the other BS he spews. But, my guess is that the main reason he stands on the street corner and makes a complete arse out of himself is that he likes the attention. He is so starved for attention that he has to be a jerkface to get it. He thinks so little of himself that instead of reaching out to people in a positive way, he has to accuse them of being worthy of rape because of what they have on their body, or they’re worthy of hellfire, damnation and maybe even a little brimstone, because of who they love.
This is the reason that the street preacher is remaining nameless. He, the Westboro crowd and their ilk, are in need of attention. I think we should give it to them. But, I don’t mean a return volley of hate, because in any type of confrontation or difference of ideas, someone has to be the better person. Instead we should let the one screaming about how “God hates fags” or that “She deserved it” know that there are better ways for them to receive the mass amount of attention they’re trying to get.
For instance, the yoga-pant-hating street preacher could go buy a bunch of yoga pants and hand them out to women on the street. Westboro Baptist could open up their church to the LGBT community. Can you imagine the press they’d get if they held a pancake breakfast to raise money for an LGBT charity?
We all know that it’s doubtful that people like this are going to change. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just doubtful. So, instead of focusing on the negativity of what they’re saying and keeping them in the spotlight, let’s just recognize that they’re morons and move on to something a little more positive. Wouldn’t that make the world just a little bit better? Wouldn’t ignoring them just give them the figural bitch slap that they need? We teach our children to not give credence to the school bully, while parents sit at home completely appalled about and engrossed in a news story about what funeral Westboro is going to protest next. The street preacher and Westboro group aren’t any different than the schoolyard bullies.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of them giving us all one, colossal, communal swirly.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org