Nottinghamshire, a county in the U.K., is going to start recording misogyny as a hate crime — yes, seriously.
According to Newsweek, the category will include “everything from verbal comments and wolf whistling to unwanted physical approaches.”
“What women face, often on a daily basis, is absolutely unacceptable and can be extremely distressing,” Chief Constable Sue Fish told the BBC. “Nottinghamshire Police is committed to taking misogynistic hate crime seriously and encourages anyone who is affected by it to contact us without hesitation.”
The police force defines misogyny as “incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman.”
Now, notice that this definition says nothing about transgender or gender-fluid individuals. What if someone outside of the gender binary harasses a woman? Is that a hate crime? Does it apply to men only, or to transmasculine people, too? What percentage masculine do you have to be to be guilty of a hate crime for whistling at a woman? What percentage of a woman do you have to be for a man to be guilty of a hate crime for whistling at you?
In fact, to me, all hate crime legislation is ridiculous. As Kyle points out in one of my favorite episodes of South Park, hate crime laws are “a savage hypocrisy, because all crimes are hate crimes.”
“If a man beats another man because he was sleeping with his wife, is that not a hate crime?” Kyle asks.
“If a person vandalizes a government building, isn’t that because of his hate for the government?” his friend Stan adds, before concluding “It is time to stop splitting people into groups.”
Now, those may be the words of cartoon boys, but guess what? They’re correct. All that these laws do is further divide people, and risk creating resentment by giving some people better treatment than others.
#related#Even aside from my general opposition to hate crime laws, this specific law is offensive to me as a woman. Fish’s allegation that being whistled at by a construction worker as I walk down the street would be “extremely distressing” is really not giving me enough credit as an emotionally stable adult. Losing a loved one is “extremely distressing.” Falling off of a cliff and breaking your legs is “extremely distressing.” Someone saying “hey sweetie” to you as you walk down the street is, at worst, just kind of annoying, and if you feel differently about that than I do, then perhaps you have not had much experience with real, actual problems.
Nottinghamshire is the first county in the U.K. to do this — hopefully more do not follow suit.