Actress Brie Larson had an unpleasant experience at airport security.
"I merely smiled at a TSA agent and he asked for my phone number. To live life as a woman is to live life on the defense," Larson tweeted on Thursday.
I merely smiled at a TSA agent and he asked for my phone number. To live life as a woman is to live life on the defense.— Brie Larson (@brielarson) October 5, 2017
Even without much context it's safe to say taxpayers aren't footing TSA's bill for security agents to hit on passengers. That's not an act worth defending. But it's still hard not to laugh at Larson's tweet.
To live life as a woman in the United States in 2017 is actually pretty great, even if a rogue TSA agent once had the audacity to ask for an actress' phone number. Of course women still face the task of occasionally batting down unwanted and uninvited advances. Call me a pessimist but I don't think even the most progressive societies will ever find a way to totally eradicate the scourge of poor male social skills. Think about what it would do to the sitcom industry.
When you see the world as an unforgiving patriarchy bent on keeping women in kitchens, even the smallest irritations seem to confirm your outlook. From Larson's TSA agent to jilted yogurt purveyor Cam Newton's press conference last week, feminists see toxic masculinity everywhere.
To the contrary, I think most women see those moments as surmountable aberrations, persistent but uncommon relics of a bygone era that are easily corrected and then shrugged off. Speaking about a phone number request with the gravity of a violent crime doesn't come across as enlightened, it comes across as exaggerated.
Until feminists are better able to accept and acknowledge the good in society, their struggle to resonate outside progressive circles will persist.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.