When Bill Maher and Joel Stein took to having a Manversation™ about feminism Friday night, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) popped their bloated dialogue like a big white male balloon. Stein was on Real Time to plug his new book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity, but the conversation immediately turned to feminism, which Stein sought to defend. The thing is, even when they’re trying to be helpful, White Male Privilege makes even relatively well-intentioned white dudes insufferable, which, in this case, meant several minutes of conversation about something called “Happy wife, happy life.”
It’s an expression I’d never heard before in my life, but apparently, it is a thing, and according to Stein and Maher, is of great importance to feminism. After white-knighting this ancient sexist trope for a few minutes, Maher tried to pivot by saying “I’m going to say something that’s going to get me in trouble with women…”
“We shouldn’t be talking about feminism,” Stein joked.
With pitch-perfect timing, Rep. Lee interjected “You’re right about that!”
The audience roared, and Maher protested “It affects us too, happy wife, happy…”
“It’s all about equal pay, equal justice, fairness, that’s all feminism is about,” Rep. Lee said. Then, as if commanded to do so, Maher and Stein conclusively proved they shouldn’t have been talking about feminism, or anything to do with women:
Maher: “Now, this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month…”
Stein: “It always is!”
Stein (on pink-tipped fracking drill): “I’m pretty sure that’s a sex toy!”
Maher: “I guess my question is, do I have to be aware of breast cancer at all times?”
Pro tip, ladies: Never let joel Stein go shopping for you.
Now, there have been serious complaints and issues raised about the “pinking” of breast cancer by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and even about that drill bit, but none of them have anything to do with making people too aware of breast cancer. Sure, breast cancer kills tens of thousands of women each year, but the real tragedy is that Bill Maher has to listen to them bang on about it. With friends like these…