As a personal fan of Mindy Kaling's — her writing and acting days on "The Office" were inspiring — this pains me to write: The "Ocean's 8" actress and sitcom creator has been swallowed and digested by the Feminist Serpent twice over and there is no chance for salvation.
(I personally blame Lena Dunham. Anything that third-waver touches becomes fatally infected.)
Over the weekend, Kaling gave a commencement address at Dartmouth College, her alma mater, wherein she gave some horrifying, radical feminist-inspired dating advice to men.
"This one is just for guys: When you go on dates, act as if every woman you're talking to is a reporter for an online publication that you are scared of," said Kaling. "One shouldn't need the threat of public exposure and scorn to treat women well; but if that's what it's gonna take, fine. Date like everyone's watching, because we are."
Kaling is a comic and there is surely an air of jest to her comments, but her adversarial view of the sexes is sincere. According to Kaling, and most feminists, men should be terrified to pursue women. If a man falters or says something interpreted in a way a woman does not like, their words can and should be used against them. In an age where a large chunk of millennials view something as innocuous as asking a woman out for drinks as "sexual harassment," we don't need any more fear injected into men who wish to pursue women.
Now juxtapose this "advice" to the messaging in Kaling's show "The Mindy Project." Kaling, the main character, pursues men in "Sex & the City"- fashion. She's sexually promiscuous, has a child out of wedlock, gets a divorce, and is an all around mess romantically. As compellingly argued by Faith Moore, such messaging has led countless women to unhappy, desperate endings.
In other words, Kaling is actively causing a stronger divide and mistrust between men and women under the cloak of "respecting women," while pushing messaging that showcases women refusing to respect themselves yet demanding respect in return.
Men shouldn't feel terrified to engage with or pursue a woman they find attractive, and women shouldn't be encouraged to use a good-faith male's words as a club against them. Instead of squeezing the #MeToo rock for water, so to speak, and pushing harmful politically correct excesses, Kaling and others in Hollywood should look to promote a culture of respect for both genders. And Kaling can start with her own work.