The shaming of Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton the formula 1 racing driver has stirred up a twitter storm after being accused of “shaming” his young nephew for wearing a princess dress. A snapchat video he posted on boxing day shows him mock-chastising the laughing four year old boy and ends with him saying “Why did you ask for a princess dress for Christmas? Boys don’t wear princess dresses!”
After coming under fire from the usual suspects he issued a grovelling apology on twitter for his “inappropriate” words and begged for forgiveness: “I have always been in support of anyone living their life exactly how they wish and I hope I can be forgiven for this lapse in judgement”.
So far, so 2017. But this time the apology itself seems to have stirred up something of a storm, with most of the subsequent twitter traffic either supporting Hamilton’s original sentiment, or decrying the lynch mob mentality that forced him to apologise for a personal opinion shared by probably 90% of the population. Several people have quoted Brendan O’Neill at Spiked: “If you think Hamilton’s video was ‘horrifying’ but this response is okay, then your moral compass is officially broken.”
Let’s take a step back for a minute. Of course there is no fundamental biological reason girls wear dresses and boys don’t. It is a social and cultural convention. But it is, as a matter of fact, the convention in the UK and much of the rest of the world today. Families instruct their children in a huge number of social conventions, many of which have no strong practical rationale, from how to eat with a knife and fork, to how to say please and thank you, hello and goodbye. All of these things are done differently in other cultures. But there can be no shame in explaining to a child the conventions of the society in which he lives.
For the SJWs who have attacked Hamilton there is no need for debate. If there ever was a debate, it concluded long ago and you, I and Lewis Hamiliton were not invited to take part.
This is not to say those conventions can’t be questioned. Clearly they can and do change. Three generations ago it was shocking for women to wear trousers. Six generations ago boys commonly wore dresses until the age of seven. A whole gamut of rules about the wearing and taking off of hats are now observed by practically no one. Doubtless conventions of dress and much else will change again. All these things are up for debate.
But that’s the issue. For the SJWs who have attacked Hamilton there is no need for debate. If there ever was a debate, it concluded long ago and you, I and Lewis Hamiliton were not invited to take part.
What is worrying here is nothing to do with whether a small boy should wear a dress. It is the rise of virulent form of cultural fascism. A small group of activists and intellectuals have decided that all traditional gender distinctions have had their day, and they have decided they can make this come about by pretending it has already happened, and acting with horror and outrage towards anyone who does not accept the new rules.
Of course this is bluff. Does Hamilton really imagine the majority of his twitter followers – presumably predominantly motor racing fans – are signed up to this stuff? Of course they aren’t. So why not call the SJWs bluff? My guess is that if Hamilton told them to fuck right off he would gain more followers than he would lose.
The reaction to Hamilton’s apology may indicate that the usually good-tempered British public have been pushed too far. The SJWs have massively overplayed their hand on gender ideology and many other issues. Social conventions change. But they do so organically, with the assent of the people. They are not imposed by Governments, nor by self-appointed mobs of humourless enforcers. The backlash may have already started.