I feel like I could open up any other magazine to see what straight white people think, but you do you, Esquire.
What does the straight, white male teenage think? It’s a question most of us weren’t asking, because we kind of know. Take one peek at the hundreds of lazy op-eds that talk about how supposedly hard it is to be a man and date in the #MeToo environment (is it harder than either asking for consent or being sexually assaulted? Probably not, but still, a specific audience must be pandered to!). Now Esquire has gone viral for an article for which the word “tone deaf” seemed tailor made, with a cover that no doubt accompanies it in dumb brotherhood: an article titled “The Life of an American Boy at 17”, with the cover boasting that the article will deliver “An American Boy: What It’s Like TO Grow Up White, Middle Class, And Male In The Era Of Social Media, School Shootings, Toxic Masculinity, #MeToo and a Divided Country”, and cover showing well… I guess a white teenager looking sad.
And Twitter had a field day with this. Much was made of the fact that this kid probably has it relatively fine. His troubles included having to check himself, which is something that every other group on the planet has had to do in its entire existence.
Hell, at one point, in the piece, Ryan’s class is asked to give their opinion of gay people, and the point of view we have on that is Ryan’s, rather than, you know, all of the gay people’s opinions on this practice.
Others pointed out that Esquire killed an article outing alleged rapist, director Bryan Singer, in an exposé that was eventually published in the Atlantic. So that Esquire again takes the side against the victims (the article talks about a fight between Ryan and a girl, and ultimately takes Ryan’s side for example) was telling.
The real issue is while claiming an extraordinary stance, the article took the side that every article implicitly takes since the beginning of time — that of the straight white man. The thing Ryan is confused about is consequence, and consequence is not new in this day and age, and the situations they consequences are new in is long overdue, and the editor’s defense of the article only hits that point forward. Consequences aren’t new. Blaming others for the actions of white people isn’t new. None of this is new. The only thing that’s new is presenting white people as the victim for simply having to have a conversation about the humanity of other people.
But I don’t know. I’m sure this article has supporters, so I would love to know what you think. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.