I felt uncomfortable with Sam commenting on Ms. Kahn’s attractiveness and using words like “adorable” to describe the dynamics at play in her interviews in the film. That is because I have been more sensitized as of late to how much women really want to get away from things being framed in terms of their sex appeal. Unfortunately, through no fault of her own, that dynamic plays a larger role in her interactions with these men than I would care to acknowledge. In some ways her attractiveness compromises the experiment. We really have no way of knowing to what extent the positive results of her encounters are really good reasons to be hopeful about our shared humanity or if it is just plain old lizard brain male hormones taking over. Whatever crazy ideologies men subscribe to, they all like pretty women. So it’s not surprising that they are going to behave differently when they are more or less alone with one. I am sorry to say that. Ms. Kahn is quite obviously a highly intelligent and capable person. But the results of her experiment would have been more persuasive had she controlled for that factor. I would have been more interested to see an adult male of her same ethnicity attempt to do what she did. I’m afraid the results might have been a lot different. I am sorry about that. I dont think that completely invalidates her work. But it is an obstacle that needs to be factored in if we are really concerned about getting to the truth.
If I remember correctly, Ms. Khan says at on point in the interview, that if a male Muslim had gone to some of the places she had gone, they probably would have been killed. I don’t doubt her.
Ms. Khan is a very attractive woman; even our cerebral Sam had a strong response to her sex appeal. You seem to think this somehow diminishes her accomplishments with the white supremacists, but I don’t see it that way. She was there in Charlottesville marching with them on that bloody weekend, in the center of the chaos, taking her life into her hands and getting pepper-sprayed by Antifa. I think this, more than just her feminine charms, gained the trust and respect of the white supremacists.
I also see no reason why one shouldn’t take into account the power of femininity to affect change in men. Women have been molding our behavior since we used to live in caves, and we are better for it.
I have tremendous respect for what she has done and her overall outlook. And I suppose if that’s what it takes to make crazy men less crazy, so be it. It’s better that then being an active Nazi.