Blogger and publisher Gavin McInnes lashed out at a University of Miami law professor on a HuffPost Live discussion about the meaning of masculinity, saying “people would be happier if women would stop pretending to be men.”
Feminism, he said, “has made women less happy.”
“Women are feigning that toughness. We’ve trivialized childbirth and being domestic so much that women are forced to pretend to be men. They’re feigning this toughness, they’re miserable,” he said.
The sparks flew when Mary Anne Franks, an associate professor at the University of Miami School of Law, rejected his perspective on gender norms.
“Men and women both are happier when they actually have accepted the fact that there is no such thing as innate characteristics, there is no such thing as women really want to do this and men really want to do that,” she said. “There is nothing about being tough or being aggressive or being successful that is at all related to being a male.”
McInnes, who co-founded Vice but has not been with the company for six years, countered with an expletive-laden tirade, saying women are being pulled away from childbirth and childrearing — what he said were their natural instincts — to be part of the workforce.
“All I’m saying is people would be happier if women would stop pretending to be men and we stopped trivializing child birth and domesticity,” he said. “My gut says the majority of women like being domestic and shaping lives and until you’ve tried it, I wouldn’t pooh pooh it or trivialize it.”
Franks stood her ground, saying McInnes’ reaction was “presenting what is wrong with masculinity right now.”
In a fit of fury, McInnes called Franks a “[expletive] idiot.”
Both Franks and McInnes followed up their appearances on the online news website’s live-streaming network with commentary on the hostile discussion.
Franks said on her website, Moving Targets, that McInnes “didn’t just provide a textbook example of the emotional weakness that so often underlies masculine swagger; he also provided an illustration of what it looks like to focus on the wrong target,” she said.
McInnes volleyed on his website, Street Carnage, which he founded after leaving Vice, saying he was merely discussing women who “elbowed their way into jobs they didn’t want.”
“I wasn’t talking about women in the workforce who are meant to be there,” he wrote. “I was talking about the women who put career over family out of some sort of cultural feminist obligation and regret it.”
Of his experience on HuffPost Live, McInnes wrote on Monday that he was “never talking to these people ever again.”
Franks told ABCNews.com that she read her opponent’s response, and called it “equally hostile, illogical and misguided.”
“He’s chosen to go on the attack again,” she said. “The fact that he has now resorted to two personal attacks on me – someone he doesn’t know at all – instead of advancing any persuasive points demonstrates that he has only one goal: to tear down anyone who makes choices that he doesn’t like,” she said.
McInnes told ABCNews.com that he has received a number amount of hate tweets and letters since Monday’s discussion. But he has also received positive feedback from women who said “thank you.”
“The irony of this is what I was ultimately saying was a feminist message. About 93 percent of women are better at home than in the workforce but more like 70 percent are doing it and choosing career over family,” he said. “To that tiny percentage where they’re meant to be doing that – I know them, I love them, I work with them and they’re awesome.
“But I work with a lot of women who are not meant to be at work. They would be much happier if they stayed at home,” McInnes said.
HuffPost Live’s editorial director Danny Shea said that the live-streaming network seeks out guests with “unique perspectives on important topics of the day.”
“We encourage a lively exchange of ideas, but are committed to maintaining a level of civility and avoiding the typical cable TV talking heads shoutfest,” he said in a statement to ABCNews.com. “One tirade is not going to change what we do or water down our programming. Our audience is too smart for that.”