I have listed some of the most common and inane arguments cited when highlighting the Hijab’s origins as a tool of patriarchal theocracy. These lines are most commonly heard in the West, where the vast majority of the world’s most privileged women reside; and typically feature ad hominem and fear-mongering tactics that seek to distract from Islam and Islamism as institutions and refocus on highly westernized and individual interpretations of the faith that have no relation to Islam’s historical meaning and practice.
But it’s about a woman’s choice! Prohibiting it makes one no different than ISIS!
Stating that the hijab is a tool of patriarchal theocracy to police women’s bodies and codify female worth as ancillary to man’s and primarily sexual, is not the same as arguing for the hijab to banned, such as in France. In fact, they have absolutely no relation to one another. So this first argument is a non-argument, and is a perfect example of the kind of re-framing that western hijab apologists will do when faced with the reality of religiously motivated headscarves.
Secondly, the hijab has nothing to do with choice, actually, quite the opposite. The hijab is ‘about’ policing women’s bodies and tethering them to patriarchal concepts of female purity, male property, and bearers of the burden of family honor. ‘Choice’ has nothing to do with the history and concept of hijab. To counter this is similar to asserting that the subordination of nuns to priests in Catholicism, another conveniently female to male power dynamic, is about choice and not the usual sexual politics. Such counters seek to deny the history, if not the present global practices, of that particular church.
Thirdly, these often made comparisons to ISIS are not just baseless, but grotesque. If one has doubts they may wish to live under ISIS for one day and then compare that experience to a year in Paris. Taking the exception in democracies and comparing them to the rule in terror-run dictatorships, is as teenage as it is hysterical.
The oppression of women and minorities we see in the Muslim world are not the product of the hijab but of American and Western imperialism.
This argument is another classic dodge to avoid holding cultures accountable for their values and instead blame foreign conspiracies for their inferiority complex. It goes without saying that Western imperialism has a lot to answer for, but contempt for human rights and free thought is a problem that Islam, like any religion, has created for itself. It did not need any outside help. Were this argument legitimate the imperialist Islamic polity, the Ottoman Empire, would have to be explained. Islamic contempt for science, free thought, and human rights developed alongside the religion, not after toxic Western influences. In short, ideologies are responsible for their own values, not conspiracies, real or imagined.
But indeed, the hijab is not the sole cause of female oppression in the Muslim world, it is however a symptom.
I don’t care what extremists say, the hijab means feminism and freedom to me!
If everyone just went about tailoring Islam to their own particular values, it would cease to exist as a cohesive institution. Islam either has something to say about the hijab or it does not. If it does, then there is one, defined thing the hijab represents. If it says nothing about the hijab, then a so-called extremist’s interpretation is as good as the so-called moderate’s. And guess which set of practitioners prevails? I’ll add here, simply because one’s interpretation of a faith is more peaceful than another’s, does not qualify it as the truer interpretation.
The strongest indicator would seem to be the interpretation of those countries that practice Islamic jurisprudence, Sharia Law. Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan all agree that the hijab exists to burden women with notions of female honor, male property, and emblemize woman’s worth as a sexual object. So you can ‘not care’ all you want, and invent all the cutesy representations of the hijab that you wish, but in the Muslim dominated world there is an overwhelming consensus that the hijab represents not female liberation, but female subordination.
In one Pew study asking what was appropriate for women to wear in public, the overwhelming majority of seven different Muslim countries supported some kind of head scarf. If the hijab was really about choice and freedom, then this study would leave me to wonder where the notion of ‘what’s appropriate’ figures into it.
But the Koran says men and women are partners, and that women should seek knowledge too.
Really? Well does it say what kind of partners men and women are? Or what sort of knowledge women should seek? Does the Koran ever explicitly state that men and women are equals? The word ‘partner’ does not necessitate equality. Nor does the command ‘seek knowledge’ translate to ‘seek equality’. And if men and women are equals under Islam, why don’t men wear a hijab? This is similar to Catholicism’s justification of male dominated power in the church. Are we to believe that men and women are equal in Catholicism despite the fact that women cannot hold any meaningfully high office there? Come on ladies…this is some pathetic reaching.
These lines are often used to ‘prove’ that the hijab is not a symbol of sexism. But these vague, optimistically translated passages say nothing about the relationship Islam intends between men and women.
Every person should have a right to wear what they wish. But the hijab isn’t just a necklace or scarf worn to keep the head warm. It is a religiously motivated symbol, and pretending that it doesn’t have a history or intent is as silly as wearing a swastika and claiming it is just a pattern. We need to be honest, not stupidly optimistic, about what these symbols represent and what their agenda is.
Identity politics necessitates the acceptance of not a few transparently contradictory ideas. First and foremost, it inextricably ties identity to experience. When I say identity I am referring to both biologically established identities, such as being dark-skinned or female, and abstract or political identities, such as being spiritual or Marxist.
This kind of politics relies most heavily on phenotype however, which comprises physical characteristics determined by genetics and epigenetics. Examples can be seen in the phrases and nomenclature of social justice groups, feminists being the primary example. Blithe references to entire swathes of people, united only by skin tone, gender, or sexuality, are not uncommon and are indeed inevitable, since the whole logic behind identity politics’ theory is invested in the idea that physical identity shapes experience and thus reality – which extends to virtually every member of the arbitrarily designated group.
The second premise, equally bizarre and spurious, is that objective truth of any kind does not exist. This is important to the first premise since it reinforces the notion that truth is defined by how one perceives it as opposed to how closely the facts of a situation cohere to reality. In other words, for the identity politicker, reality is defined by perception which in the nomenclature is called ‘narrative’. It is a fitting name since narratives are highly personalized and often fictional. So, for example, if I am a black woman and I feel unduly observed at a Target while shopping, the reality of the situation is not defined by what I can prove but rather by what I think is the case, regardless of the facts.
The new ‘guilty until proven innocent’ populist trend supported by many feminists in rape cases, offers us a supremely apt example. The feminist ‘narrative’ is that women absolutely, categorically, do not lie about rape and thus, any woman claiming rape should be taken at her word. To do otherwise is to ‘marginalize’ her experience by ‘invalidating’ it. If she fingers the wrong culprit or her story fails utterly to cohere, it is only because the trauma of the event has crippled her but this by no means impugns her story.
The rights of the accused become secondary to the accuser in rape cases in particular, all because feminist narratives define women as always right in the case of sexual assault. If men are falsely accused and socially pilloried in the process, this pales in comparison to even meek attempts at clarification on the part of the constabulary or public. This is justified by the claim that to question the victim does more harm than falsely accusing and socially alienating the accused. Asking for evidence, holding the victim accountable for their claims, and indeed, investigating the matter at all in any way that burdens the victim, is just more proof that we live in a patriarchal rape culture.
Rape cases are an interesting study since they highlight the contempt identity politickers have for evidence and truth seeking. They also highlight the practical cultural and legal implications of such an ideology being taken seriously. Investigation into any claim is often defined as a kind of attack, silencing at best, and violence at worst. This is quite simply because ‘narratives’ are considered truisms despite the overwhelming cornucopia of evidence that proves not only that witness testimony is colossally unreliable, proving that we should always buttress our stories with facts, but that individual interpretations of the same events can vary as widely as the individuals that experience them.
Instead of accepting that rape cases are difficult to try for numerous reasons, feminists and others have simply taken the unnuanced position that women cannot lie about rape and that there is a self-evident patriarchal conspiracy to codify it. This double-edged stance, that feminist orthodoxy can never be wrong, and that a coordinated global white-hetero-patriarchal conspiracy exists, can be found underpinning almost every argument a proponent of identity politics will make.
So far, we have the concept of collective experience and the belief that truth is entirely subject to one’s identity and that no objective metric can be reliably trusted. It should be noted here and now that already we have a contradiction.
If we can only know our own group’s experiences, how can we expect understanding from people who do not share our identity? The often quoted line, check your privilege, seems utterly pointless if in fact we cannot understand the perspectives of others without living them. And since identity politickers have rejected objectivity and its metrics, there can be no way to understand what is meant by any other person’s concept of privilege. Indeed, the command, check your privilege assumes an absolute truth through a lens that denies any such thing exists.
This is not to say agent and target groups do not exist. But it is to say that through identity politics no such thing can be reliably identified.
The third premise of identity politics is the concept of ownership, both of guilt and culture.
In the case of agent groups, such as men, heterosexuals, and white people, you must own a collective and generational guilt that spans the vast desert of humanity’s sins. In the case of oppressed groups such as gay people or black Americans, you own any and all aspects of a given culture or subculture, which you are free to police at will.
How anyone can own a culture or way of being is inexplicable, especially when we consider that no culture in existence today is at all the sole creation of one cohesive group of people. Ideas and cultures defy ownership by their very nature. Being nonmaterial they can be possessed by anyone and altered at will to fit changing contexts of existence.
The assumption that when supposed ‘non-owners’ engage foreign ideas or practices it automatically becomes a form of oppressive mockery is as paranoid and cynical as it is dismissive of intention. Again we see in identity politics an attempt to place an absolute judgement on how something should be done and yet it’s through a theory that by its very description claims nothing like an objective reality exists.
The fourth and final premise, and maybe the most risible of all, is the hierarchy of victimhood that identity politics and its adherents wallow in. Group capital and authority are defined not by the merit of your arguments or character, but again, by your identity. The more oppressed identities one possesses, the more currency you have in the economy of victimhood.
All other things being equal, if you can stack your minorityships, you are in a better position to socially police others with your identity credentials. This is yet another key factor in warding off truly critical debate in which evidence must be forth coming. By making oppressed identities the primary force behind an argument, you not only render logic and numbers toothless, but entirely sideline every privileged group you claim grievance against. Should any minority member challenge this orthodoxy they are immediately labeled an inculcated shill of the white-hetero-patriarchy. And should a privileged individual challenge it, they will be pilloried as a bigot and accused of silencing the victim in question.
Despite identity politics’ inherent claim to solipsism, it consistently wields a hermeneutic double standard against its perceived enemies, demanding that they and only they hold the key to what is true or false as far as existential claims go. The ultimate conflict here, which we see occur increasingly, is that in such a diffuse movement with no identifiable keeper of doctrine, everyone and their mother holds that key.
I recently came across #thisis2016 which is apparently some kind of ‘tell your own story’ about racism against Asian ethnicities. Admittedly I haven’t done in depth research on this ‘movement’ but as far as I can tell it was inspired by an editor for the New York times who, surprise-surprise, in walking among the 8 million people of New York experienced some verbal racism.
The suggestion is that others share their stories. This is the inane attention we now give to such mild experiences. If being told to ‘go back to China’ by an angry woman on the street ruins your day or is enough to anger you into starting a revolution, I have to wonder just how sheltered your life has been thus far.
It would seem that, given his extreme reaction, that this does not happen as often as the movement would suggest since he would otherwise have to spend all his time hashtagging about it.
I commented on this movement on facebook to a girl who seemed to support it and really believe in it. She was not happy when I said basically what I am saying here. She then commented that America is a country that ‘kills’ you for being different, highlighting just how exaggerated the problem had become for her.
Aside from young black men, I don’t really think there is a group of people in the United States that understands much about what it actually means to be mortally persecuted for difference. And even then, the numbers are not as impressive as the media would have you believe. In Saudi Arabia women are stoned for perceived adultery or even if they are the victims of rape. In Iran homosexuals are hanged. North Koreans cannot leave their own country and live in a constant state of inculcation.
These are real problems that require real solutions and are in fact indicative of what society at large feels about these groups.
I would argue that racial slurs at the hand of the odd pedestrian does not constitute anything abnormal when living in a large, multiracial society. When slurs, however, progress to systemic racial policy and practice, then we have a real problem. Until then, you’ve basically just been called a bad name.
My ultimate point here is that movements like these, which strive to act as a kind of wake-up call or barometer of society, fail utterly to do anything of the kind. They are not random, rather they are selected for, and they attract some of the most angry, self-righteous people; many of whom are time-privileged enough to sit around and think about how angry they are about name-calling and then make a video about it. It is like using youtube comments to gauge the frequency of profanity. Ridiculous.
A better barometer would be nation-wide polls in which people are asked what they think of Asian people or to ask Asian Americans themselves about the frequency and intensity of their experiences with racism, and whether it was at the hands of authority or just some rando.
Instead, however, we just get a bunch of self-righteous and indignant people whose worst experience is a taunt, discussing how awful it is to suffer at the hands of all these racists, many of whom don’t ever seem as frequent or present as these videos would like us to believe. Maybe because there is so much capital in victimhood in America today.
There was a time, I’m told, when feminism was a realistic, meaningful movement in the United States. It had leaders, was focused, and possessed worthwhile goals it sought to fulfill. Moreover, it was also united and constructive.
Unfortunately, today feminism has devolved into what can only be described as an ideologically fascist, fear-mongering extremist movement with cult-like obedience to popular party lines and a culture of public humiliation. In this editorial I’d like to examine the many ways in which feminism has deteriorated into a self-destructive and toxic ideology, one that has borrowed and broken Marxist and progressive ideals, and transformed itself into one of the single most dangerous movements in the West today.
PART ONE: Free Speech is Hate Speech
When critics accuse feminism today of having much in common with ISIS they’re not being facetious. Both are remarkably contemptuous of free speech, the only difference being one has absolute power to prevent it while the other must work within a disagreeable legal framework. Personally, I consider it a truism to say that when it comes to social justice warriors, had they the opportunity to silence their opponents Stalinist style, they would.
Exhibit A : Poll showing discontent and confusion over the definition of free speech.
Exhibit B : British university bans controversial comedian from campus.
Exhibit C : President Obama criticizes the coddling university culture.
Exhibit D : Watch those pronouns you transphobic monster!
Exhibit E : US Department of Education asked to censor websites and punish racist speech.
Exhibit F : How trigger warnings are destroying the American university.
I could go on. This trend is largely within universities, which is not surprising when we consider their make-up. Liberal, naïve, largely middle-class and so on; types that have no grasp of how the world actually works, especially outside of America. Taught to make ubiquitous use of emotional assumptions and to replace critical thought for post-structuralism, young people today no longer need silly facts to make sense of reality, instead reality becomes a personal narrative in which everything is just a matter of perspective.
The ways in which social justice warriors and feminists obfuscate their absolute contempt for free speech are numerous. An entire lexicon has arisen to define the ways in which dissenting opinions are evil and is constructed in the most vague and self-righteous of terms so as to deflect as much scrutiny as possible. Here are a few.
Microaggression: any word, phrase, expression, or action that can be interpreted as bigoted, regardless of the number of alternative explanations.
Safe Space: an arbitrarily designated space in which only the most pro-intersectional feminist rhetoric and post-structuralist drivel can be discussed – essentially any location containing 2 or more feminists.
Mansplain: a term used to silence anyone, though especially men, who attempt to offer a legitimate or alternative point to a discussion on anything, including those topics in which they are experts.
Rape Culture: the entirely out of proportion conspiracy theory that America legally and socially sanctions rape despite an overwhelming lack of evidence, leading to the idea that women should always be believed at the expense of the accused and that rape is a crime more heinous than murder or genocide. To counter this claim only legitimizes it.
Patriarchy: the entirely out of proportion conspiracy theory that white men around the world collude to oppress women, especially women of color, despite both genders having exactly all the same rights.
Intersectionality Theory: a feminist theory resembling pokemon which states the more oppressed identities you’ve collected, the wiser and more knowledgeable you are about the ‘true nature of reality’.
Narrative: any of a number of competing perspectives with no bearing on facts or reality, the importance of which is gauged by how oppressed the narrator is.
Privilege: any form of success.
Oppression: any form of failure.
Problematic: an adjective used to draw attention away from the fact that its user misunderstands the situation at hand.
Shitlord: anyone with a critique of feminist pedagogy, especially a legitimate one.
Trigger Warning: a warning tag for people seeking to be pathologically offended.
Cultural Appropriation: the heinous act of a white person eating sushi.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time on the internet or Huffington Post would find it difficult to deny the notion that feminists and social justice warriors want to remake the definition of free speech. Anything they dislike or don’t understand is a glaring example of misogyny or racism. Anyone who disagrees and even those who simply choose not to participate, is automatically labeled part of the white heteropatriarchal matrix of oppression. In short, disagreement is harassment, criticism is violence, and silence is hateful.
Feminism seems fundamentally incapable of hearing any story or stance that does not confirm its world view and will go to great lengths to silence detractors. Take the examples of such atheist ex-Muslim speakers as Maryam Namazie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, both of whom have been picketed and censored by feminist groups despite having personal on-the-ground experience with the real oppression of Sharia Law in their home countries of Iran and Somalia. These are women that have had death threats made against them for their very real activism, unlike the feminism of Tumblr which is done over tea and biscuits.
Until now, feminist supporters have tried to claim that these are extremists and that they are few and far between. But the growing body of evidence suggests that at universities across America, free speech, discourse, and the nature of reality is under attack. But instead of countering these offensives, people are cowering and apologizing for exercising their first amendment rights. Be assured, however, that these kinds of people are ideologically and intellectually opposed to the free exchange of ideas, not unlike the theocratic fascists of Syria’s ISIS.
To be continued in PART TWO: The Additive Property of Victimhood
I want to readdress some of the logical fallacies and emotional assumptions embedded in 3rd wave feminism’s assessment of both sexual objectification and cultural appropriation.
Remember that sexual objectification has been labeled ‘bad’ because it necessarily reduces a human being to the status of sex-object, whether as commodity, property, or mere eye candy. This, however, is ‘problematic’ as the feminists say, since there is nothing either absolutely harmful about this behavior or even unnatural – in other words there is nothing socially constructed about it.
It is probably time to remind everyone here that much of third wave feminist philosophy is founded on the amorphous threat of patriarchy, a social construction itself and one that perpetuates by way of socially constructed ways of acting out gender. Sexual objectification is supposedly key to this, save for that it is not in fact a social construct.
Sexual objectification can scientifically be reduced to physical attraction and thus the primary motive behind human reproduction. This is a ‘problematic’ explanation for many third wave feminists, even if it is the most obvious one, because it leaves us with absolutely nobody, and I literally mean no body, to blame for its cause or consequences. Our source perforce becomes biology which is a difficult personage to indict.
I want to clarify here that I do believe sexual objectification can be bad, in the same way a hammer can be bad. But sexual objectification, again like a hammer, has its uses – some of which are quite productive. It goes without saying that the commodification of bodies, absolutely sexual or not, can be taken too far and create unrealistic standards of beauty or in more severe cases such as pornography, nurture exaggerated expectations of sexual behavior and gratification.
This, however, scarcely damns sexual attraction, what feminists are actually referring to when they use the term sexual objectification. Nor, might I add, are these dangers so pernicious as to warrant their prohibition or even regulation in so far as consenting adults go.
We do not have to consider the entirety of a person’s persona and being in order to harmlessly and genuinely admire a part of their body. I can look at a man from afar and I find his biceps, face, or back sexy and desirous without considering his hopes and dreams. Not only is it ridiculous to expect as much it is simply impossible, otherwise every time you found a person attractive for any reason you would be obliged to either immediately look away or approach them and engage in an inappropriately intrusive conversation.
This concept of accepting the whole or rejecting all of it has its roots in third wave feminism, I suspect. I cannot like the man’s biceps without knowing about and thus liking all of him, for example. You cannot admire the girl’s breasts or face without understanding she wishes to be a doctor one day, another example.
This strikes me as similar to when feminists reject a man’s great and indelible accomplishments because, as it turns out, he was racist or sexist. Thomas Jefferson’s contributions to the constitution are to be entirely disregarded because, well, like most people in his day, he owned slaves. Benjamin Franklin whored about, was a womanizer, and thus any intellectual fruit he bore was of the poisoned tree.
It seems today that historical figures, celebrities, and politicians, no matter their life’s work, in the face of this new liberal fascism, can always be reduced to nothing if but one contemptible thing about them can be exposed. This is not unlike the notion that, if one cannot like the entirety of the person, body and soul alike, you cannot like any of it. Bosh.
Having sufficiently obliterated that ridiculous conceit, I want to move on to cultural appropriation, the feminist corruption of cultural diffusion and what they define as when one culture, usually a socio-politically dominant one, ‘steals’ aspects of another culture for its own uses, whether commercial or otherwise, and essentially places it out of ‘context’.
I want to give one obvious example of this so defined term which will also illustrate the racist hypocrisy of third wave feminists. This example will show how members of a dominant culture, in this case African Americans, have appropriated and corrupted aspects of another’s culture, in this case Native Americans.
In case you doubt the dominant status of African Americans over Native Americans, remember that one of these groups has in recent years been at least moderately represented in both our executive (Obama, Rice, Powell, Holder, Johnson, Weaver) and Judicial (Marshall and Thomas) branches of government while the other has had essentially none and has been nearly driven to extinction.
In New Orleans during Mardi Gras there is a specifically and exclusively black practice of dressing in exaggerated Native American tribal attire, feather headdresses and all, and dancing about while making much ado. Now while some of the participants have claimed Native American ancestry, the fact remains that some do not or in the least, cannot prove it, leaving me to question why this practice is not hailed by feminists as being comparably racist to black-face. I might add that this practice hardly takes into consideration the uniqueness of tribes and in ignoring that fact, makes a monolith of Native American peoples – stereotyping them all as feather wearing buffoons who enjoy brightly colored feathers and dancing.
Personally, I do not care about this practice. However, by the feminist definition this is cultural appropriation, though not the kind they like to highlight because it doesn’t include a group of white people to demonize.
Or at least, that is one way to look at it. You could also say that it is simply the result of cultural diffusion, what happens when many cultures/peoples over many centuries have either been forced or chosen to intermix and interact. This is ultimately how all societies have been formed since the beginning of time. Most ceremonies, celebrations, clothes, and yes, even languages, are little more than combinations, hybrids, or derivatives of others before them. This is just how human populations work and form.
Again, can people be exploited? Of course. Can cultures be diminished, annihilated, or coopted by others? Indeed. But can they also be enriched? Obviously. Dominant or not, it factors very little into the equation.
I might add here that nobody owns language, clothing, or even culture. The French do not own the French language, they only delude themselves when they try to control and manage it. An Amazonian Tribe does not own its particular set of practices. Not only were they likely learned or borrowed from others before them but they will likely vanish or continue on those same terms.
It is worth adding here that if something is out of context, then it is out of context regardless of the identity of the person who misplaces it. So even were we to take seriously that part of the equation, how could we when feminists place so much weight on something as superficial as skin color or gender? How is an ushanka being worn in Florida by a black man any less ‘bizarre’ than when it is being worn by a white or Asian woman? If a statement or act is absolutely racist, then it remains so regardless of who says or does it.
If we take feminist cultural appropriation theory seriously, then we have to stop learning other languages, eating new cuisines, trying different fashions, and worst of all, stop experimenting and even improving upon them. It seems as though what they really want by this concept is to justify segregating peoples and preventing the dissemination of ideas new and old alike. This stifles communication, exchange, exposure, and education. Not everything need be cast in the sinister light of good and evil, and not every cultural exchange need be reduced to the legacy of racist colonialism.
Let’s start exploring these new, fancy, and often empty terms feminism throws at us to intimidate and silence, and start really exploring what they would mean if we took them seriously.
Rose McGowan from the vapid and adolescent TV series ‘Charmed’ stated for the record that, “Gay men are as misogynistic as straight men, if not more so…I have an indictment of the gay community right now, I’m actually really upset with them.”
I’ve been reading more and more of these ‘indictments’ against gay men and their supposed obligation to support third wave feminism so I am going to use some of McGowan’s statements to address these absurd claims. Here we go…
“You wanna talk about the fact that I have heard nobody in the gay community, no gay males, standing up for women on any level?”
Your personal experiences, especially as an affluent celebrity, have absolutely no bearing on and are in no way representative of the typical American experience. Nor are they an effective barometer of the socio-political relationship between gay men and women activists. In other words, just because you haven’t heard anything doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, the world does not revolve around you. Granted, this is really difficult for American and European feminists to understand, especially due to their fixation on identity politics.
“There is Sharia law active in Saudi Arabia, there’s a woman who’s about to be stoned – I have not heard [AIDS activist] Cleve Jones discuss her, and nor will he.”
First, the people most responsible for the rights of Saudi women are Saudis. Also, I don’t know who Cleve Jones is but he is not obligated to speak out for anyone, nor is any gay man. Gay men, just like everyone else, may identify or not identify with any group they choose.
Personally, I do not ‘identify’ with the gay community in any sociopolitical way. My persona is much deeper than that and I do not feel a rush of camaraderie with another man simply because they too love men.
In addition, why are gay men being targeted here? How is it gay men are more obliged to support the rights of Saudi women (or any women) than straight men? Or black men? Or bisexual or trans men? How exactly does this hierarchy of concern work? As usual, these feminist concerns are as arbitrary as they are without merit.
“I think it’s what happens to you as a group when you are starting to get most of what you fought for? What do you do now?”
Again, why is it the job of gay men to ‘fight’ for anything? Where does this very arbitrary and entitled assertion stem from? This conclusion remains tethered to the notion that if you’re a minority you must identify with and fight for all other minorities – in essence, it enslaves every individual to the will and ends of the group.
This is identity politics at its core, the reduction of individuals to a physical characteristic or non-physical attribute and subsuming their rights, desires, and aspirations under those of a collective. Why do this? I supposed it is one way to psychologically manipulate people into supporting a cause, in other words, what McGowan does with these lines.
I might add that globally, gay men remain one among the single most targeted minorities. Further, am I to infer that women in America have not gotten ‘most of what they fought for’? Women can vote, work, go to school, divorce, get abortions, run for political office, travel unchaperoned, own property or a business, drive, and inherit wealth.
“What I would hope they would do is extend a hand to women.”
So tired of repeating this, no one owes anyone anything in this regard. Gay men as a group do not owe women anything as a group and vice versa.
“Women, by-and-large, have very much helped the gay community get to where they are today.”
Actually gay men and gay women have definitively and demonstrably done the bulk of the footwork on gay rights, with meaningful and substantial contributions by straight folk. That being said, regardless of women’s contributions to the cause, nothing would entitle them to the aid of gay men in their own, especially if it was only for the sake of reciprocity. It’s worth mentioning here that gay rights benefit everyone, including women, straight or otherwise, so I’m not sure what you’re so upset about.
“And I have seen not a single peep from these people, who supposedly represent lesbians as well… when the equal pay act was shut down by Republicans in the Senate, not a single man mentioned that.”
Evidence of absolutely nothing. Done.
Lastly, I want to address something not mentioned by McGowan but by others, namely this recent trend of attacking gay men for impersonating the personas of ‘strong black women’. People can impersonate and act like anyone they choose, get the fuck over it. I haven’t heard any of these people complain about the impersonation of poor rednecks or valley girls.
Gloria Steinem, venerated feminist, recently claimed on NPR that domestic abuse, patriarchy, and other such perceived and so-called ‘Western ills’ were imported to the Americas after European colonization, substantiating this claim with the generalization that Native Americans exhibited matrilineal societies.
She knowingly, in my strict opinion, used this term in conflation with matriarchy, purposefully leading a misinformed audience to believe that Native Americans were more egalitarian than European societies. This is, of course, demonstrably not the case – especially when speaking generally of the tribes of North America.
I won’t be citing any sources in this article for the simple fact that it is all so readily available with even the most cursory google search. In the same way that European societies are and were diverse, so were Native Americans’. Making a monolith of this vast and multifaceted group of people, even if in a perceived positive tone, is about as racist as Jim Crow.
This is a typical example of how fundamentalist feminists like Steinem reframe history and reality in order to justify their world view and ideologies. In truth, Steinem probably suffers from a crippling case of white guilt and thus pays undue homage to cultures she only cursorily knows about – not unlike every fundamentalist feminist I have ever met and heard speak.
But even if her claim about Native American tribes were true, we know from history and writers like Nigerian Chinua Achebe that pre-colonial African cultures like the Igbo exhibited patriarchy on levels that made France of the day appear radically egalitarian. Without any European influence, the Igbo practiced polygamy, sanctioned beating their wives, bought women with crops like cattle, and clearly preferred sons over daughters. The often implied notion that Europe invented this horrid ‘woman-as-chattel’ behavior is demonstrably false and was and remains a generally human trait.
Fascinating, is it not, how quick western feminists are to point out the faults of Western societies and how quick they are to infantilize everyone else’s to the point of voiding any and all of their accountability.
Let’s play a game shall we? Let’s use the same litmus test feminists use to determine if a society is patriarchal. If we look at Native American leaders, what gender are they by and large? Who are the so called big players? We’ll start by naming a few celebrated leaders like Red Cloud, Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Tecumseh, and Crazy Horse. None of them are female. In fact, the only female Native Americans known to the American populace are Pocahontas and Sacajawea, neither of whom were leaders and both of whom are only famous by incident.
My bottom line here is that the vast majority of Native American chiefs and leaders, especially prior to World War II, were male. Just like the vast majority of warriors in these societies. We can acknowledge that gender was defined differently in these societies without jumping to the erroneous conclusion that it didn’t matter in them.
It is easy to pick through Native American history and prop up a female leader here and there or highlight some of the few female warriors that occasionally appeared and make it seem routine, just as I could name Anne, Jane Grey, Mary and Elizabeth I, Victoria, and the current Elizabeth II, making old merry England appear to be one of the single most female friendly nations ever to exist. After all, they had all those regnant queens right?
I am not stating that Native American peoples were all the same (that would be Steinem), nor am I stating that they were all gender fascists. Many tribes actually exhibited rather relaxed gender roles relative to Europeans of the day while others, like the Sioux, were known to be highly gender divided. The point is that these cultures were as numerous as they were varied and they exhibited many different ways of being. Europe did not ‘import’ patriarchy or male-on-female violence, it existed among these societies long before white folk ever made an appearance, just as it had everywhere else.
Like Steinem, I don’t know much about the indigenous cultures of America, but I do know they were far from perfect and had about as many social failings as any other group on the planet because they were human beings, and no human society has ever succeeded in creating a world free of violence and devoid of gender roles, except Norway.
Matrilineal, by the way, only refers to how one traces ancestry or inheritance. It is not actually an indicator of egalitarianism or patriachy’s absence. Jewish lineage is typically determined matrilineally but that scarcely makes Jewish societies matriarchal, see Israel and its government for more on that.
Lastly, feminists and other guilt-ridden westerners often desperately attempt to apologize for the genocide of indigenous cultures by propping up the murdered peoples as superior, instead of acknowledging them for the imperfect society that they actually were. This is demeaning to that group. It turns them into children unaccountable for their wrongdoing and imperfections. It also disregards the way in which they contributed to humanity’s long history of violence and hatred.
Statistics are the bite-sized gummies of the scientific world. They represent the deliciously small chewables of the empirical realm in which the byzantine complexity of lengthy surveys and studies can be condensed into chunks of useful information for the otherwise scientifically illiterate to spout off at their next cocktail party…or debate.
Few of us question the legitimacy of the stats we are given. Indeed, more often than not we eagerly grasp for them, weeding out those that fail to confirm our warped world views while lionizing the bits that give our opinions the patina of the professorial.
Radical feminists have become the master sophists of this vapidly casuistic technique, hell-bent on the creation of amorphous boogey men like patriarchy and rape culture while caterwauling about rising rates of rape and violence against women. Let’s close our throats to this smorgasbord of stats and start scrutinizing their specifics. We’ll begin with rape.
Only 2% of rape accusations are false.
When looking at a statistic like this there are some questions we should immediately ask ourselves. First, who did they ask? Psychiatrists? Police departments? Second, what was the sample size and where was it? Third, what constituted a false accusation as opposed to a legitimate one?
As it turns out this number actually comes from the FBI’s index of reported crimes and the correct statistic is 2-8%. (search the word ‘unfounded’ in the link) As a matter of fact, for many years, including those from 1995 to 1997, forcible rape was quadruple the rate of other falsely reported Index crimes at 8%. That’s right, the average for all Index crimes was 2% while forcible rape maintained an unfounded rate of 8%.
All this is bosh of course, because this statistic is far from infallible. Indeed, there is no way to know how accurate it is since the methods used are about as spotty as UFO sightings. Namely, they are determined by investigation which means detectives decide of their own accord if the evidence is damning. If, for example, the determination is based upon conviction then two problems occur. First is the assumption that a conviction means an actual rape transpired, then secondly, that if both a rape and conviction did take place that the accused was indeed the actual rapist. Since we know false convictions happen and since we know victims can be mistaken with regard to their perpetrators, how are we to take this data as gospel? It is also of note that people make false confessions all the time and for various reasons. Someone may indeed say they committed a crime when they did not.
There is then the simple matter of logic. This statistic has been used interminably to support the outlandish and infantile claim that women never lie about rape. Well, according to the FBI 2-8% of them do. Notwithstanding, even were these statistics trustworthy and much lower, we could still be convinced women lie since there is nothing about their sex that prevents them from doing so. Moreover, there are plenty of reasons to lie about rape. (search the word ‘alibi’ in the link. this particular article cites another study regarding rape and false reports)
1 in 5 women are raped.
Alas…more crap. First off, less than 5,500 people participated which, for a country as large as America, is a remarkably low number of respondents. Secondly, the respondents were all from college campuses which is a social microcosm of its own, hardly representative of the nation at large. Thirdly, and most importantly, this ‘1 in 5’ number includes numerous forms of sexual assault, such as forced kissing, groping, and body rubbing with clothes on. Much of this does not constitute anything even broaching rape. But again, notwithstanding the outrageous falsehood here, even were it true, the fact that so few people participated and that all respondents hailed from a very specific and small community would certainly be enough to dismiss its credibility. Moving on…
Rape is an epidemic, rape culture is real.
Not a statistic, I know, it also isn’t supported by any. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics female victims of sexual assault or at all-time lows, having decreased by 60% since the mid-nineties. This is all based upon reported and unreported crimes to the police from a nationally representative sample of people 12 and older, they are interviewed multiple times. What does this translate to? It means that our best guess suggests that rape and sexual assault are in fact decreasing with time, not increasing. In other words, getting better, healing, improving, the opposite of what could be described as an ‘epidemic’ and what one could call a ‘dying culture of rape’, if at all.
Actually, this is based upon a study done by Murray Straus and colleagues, not the FBI as is often cited, and is only half true since his findings report that women are as likely as men to engage in spousal violence. In other words, men are beaten every fifteen seconds as well. It is true, however, that women are overwhelmingly more likely to be seriously injured in the process. The principle, however, remains of note. It is not accurate to state the statistic without explaining its context.
Domestic violence increases on Super Bowl Sundays.
No it doesn’t. Violence in general might, but domestic violence between husbands and wives does not. The original study was misquoted and misunderstood, probably because so many feminists are post-modernists that believe reality is subjective. Indeed, despite numerous findings to the contrary this myth persists, likely because it supports wild feminist claims about the evils of that amorphous demon patriarchy.
1/3 of all married women experience battery at some point in their life.
Yeah…no…only if battery is defined so loosely as to include pushing, shoving, throwing an object, and restraint. If that is the case then my sisters have been ‘battering’ me for decades now (page 795 of link). Real battery, as we all imagine the word to mean, connotes pummeling, use of and threats with weapons, an actual beating. When limited to this, the statistic crumbles. Further, intimate partner violence in the US has generally decreased dramatically, by about 60% since the 90’s. Is this to say violence against women isn’t a problem? That rape and sexual assault are non-issues? Of course not. It is to say, however, that radical feminism ignorantly lies and fixes the stats for their own perverse gain so that they can justify their fundamentalism with extreme depictions of male on female violence. Shouldn’t these people be proud of the declines in rape and violence? Apparently not, I suppose that is what happens when your movement is hijacked by paranoid crack-pots.
Radical feminism silences opposition, exaggerates reality, and rejects empiricism for numerous reasons. The greatest contributor is likely the fundamentalist zeal, post-modernist concepts, and the overwhelming insecurity of its adherents. Radical feminists cannot stand up to scrutiny so they dismiss questioners and respond with ad hominem attack. They do not believe truth can be objectively determined and so they draw their knowledge of the world from emotional assumptions and personal perceptions. They recognize within themselves numerous failings that they fear taking responsibility for, and so they blame nebulous abstractions like patriarchy and rape culture. It is imperative we refuse to accept this strand of McCarthyism and moral relativism.