We’ll start out with confession number one: the two worst persons in my life were both women, and one of them was—my own mother! Both of them have been written about previously in “Politically Incorrect Leftist” blogs, this one about my mother penned by myself appropriately on Mother’s Day: http://politicallyincorrectleftist.blogspot.com/2011/05/on-mothers-day-for-those-mothers-who.html. The other, on a very sanctimonious, self-righteous Quaker woman, Jane Haldeman, who was correctly characterized by a mutual friend of both of us as “abusive, manipulative, emasculating,” was penned by another mutual friend of ours, John Williams, in the form of a short story, with names changed, but with personas and events described accurately, as they had occurred: http://politicallyincorrectleftist.blogspot.com/2011/05/guest-blog-from-my-friend-john-williams.html. I urgently insist that all feminists, especially those considering themselves left feminists, read these, and pointedly note, if you don’t it will only be for willful blindness. Though both women are now (thankfully) dead, their destructive legacies toward me live on, just proving that real women, as opposed to ideological stereotypes, can be very destructive to men, and though perhaps products, in a hidebound way, of patriarchy, can be every bit as destructive as male-dominated, male-generated patriarchy!
Further, and this properly reflects on my deep-seated atheism, which not only objects to faith in God or in gods, also pointedly notes the crass immorality, the convenient sinning, the winking at “divine” moral laws, admonitions, and strictures, of God- or gods-believers themselves. My mother was Catholic, Jane Haldeman was Quaker: yet both had an abiding belief in the Christian God and this God’s supposedly unbreakable and abiding love for all, which they effectively translated as “I can do whatever I want, as God, the Indulgent Sugar Daddy in the Sky, will certainly approve of all that I do.” But both, as the blogs demonstrate, engaged in behaviors that can only be characterized as immoral, self-indulgent, cruel, insensitive, and responded to criticism of their behaviors with indignation and rationalizations!
Confession number two: I am a true feminist, believing and acting fully in accord with the notion that men and women are equal, deserve equal rights and protections under law, and have certainly been discriminated against in the past, some now which continues into the present, and that the harmful effects of such discrimination must be corrected and alleviated. No one should be invidiously judged and slighted because of his/her sex or gender. Equal rights for all. Period. Beyond that, however, I also believe women are equal to men in these respects as well: they are every bit as capable as men in venality, stupidity, hypocrisy, cruelty, insensitivity, abuse, manipulation, special pleading, rationalization and outright lying, cheating, and every other moral vice as men are, and often act out such vices, same as men, and often to the same degree or more as men themselves! They are not angels on a pedestal! Furthermore, women are just as capable and culpable as men in parental child abuse, including “mere” verbal and emotional child abuse, as opposed to physical abuse (of which they are also fully capable, as the incarceration of women attests). In fact, my mother was actually more abusive toward me than my father, who was also abusive, in this significant regard—as I knew my father was abusive and not to be trusted, my equally-abusive mother had a thin veneer of culture and intellect that beguiled me into trusting her, only to be betrayed by her over and over. Yes, she differed from my father in being more treacherous, and her guile in this sucked me into her abusive vortex over and over again!
Then, taking a page from Lenin’s Imperialism, and analogous to his concept of the comprador bourgeoisie, is the matter of comprador women, women who, themselves victims of patriarchy, take the attitude of “If you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em,” and become agents of anti-woman patriarchy as women themselves! Just as Chiang Kai-shek and the comprador Chinese under Guomindang rule, themselves victims of anti-Chinese racism from the Western colonialist powers and the Japanese, became effectively agents of these same racist powers! Numerous examples, of course, abound in real life, of whom we might name just some of the more prominent: Sarah Palin, Joni Ernst, Ann Coulter, Condoleeza Rice, and all those supermodel-looking female talking heads on Fox News. Then there were those glass-ceiling-breaking neoliberal centrist feminists who avidly supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, even those of avowedly “progressive” and “leftist” credentials such as Joan Walsh, Amanda Marcotte, and the man-trashing Sady Doyle, who tagged the Bernie Sanders candidacy as a chauvinistic white male campaign fueled by woman-hating “Bernie Bros,” and did so in the name of—allegedly “real feminism”! Even going so far as to cavalierly and condescendingly dismiss those women who supported Bernie Sanders publicly—as did Madeleine Albright, who notably remarked, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” (i.e., Hillary Clinton); or former feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s (my, how the mighty have fallen!) dismissal of Bernie-supporting young women being in his campaign only because “That’s where the boys are,” i.e., they’re just boy-crazy and want to meet young men!
Confession number three: although feminism has (unevenly, to be sure) made discussion-worthy and raised individual and societal understanding of sexism, rape and rape culture, patriarchy, and sexual discrimination and harassment, its seduction by the siren calls of Postmodernism (a series of logical and material fallacies searching vainly to establish itself as a true philosophy), Political Correctness, and intersectionality/identity politics have only muddled and undermined these understandings, and reduced “sexism,” “rape and rape culture,” “male privilege,” (I do not like the word “privilege,” as real privilege is socio-economic—“advantage,” or even better, “comparative advantage,” are much superior terms) to hyperbolic swear words with which to label anyone who disagrees with, or even questions, our now massively self-righteous left. This is especially revealing when we “unpack” (a word used by my former academic advisor) what they really mean as opposed to what they allegedly mean, and when we discuss what is actually sexism, rape, rape culture, and patriarchy form what they have come to mean by a most destructive Political Correctness.
Which brings me to my objection to #metoo’s “Believe all women.” Even LeAnn Tweeden? Or maybe precisely, don’t believe LeeAnn Tweeden! Because of her public record and persona, readily available, as a pro-Trump Republican; a friend of Sean Hannity’s, and a frequent guest on his Fox News program; and an Obama Birther. Not to mention that Tweeden herself has crafted her own professional persona as a raunchy woman, is a former Playboy nude model, frequently appears as a scantily-clad cheesecake model, is seen at that infamous 2006 USO show patting a male country singer on the buttocks (the same USO show she blasted Al Franken for, alleging he sexually abused her in a publicity photo of the kind common just a decade or more ago, before being “woke” came into fashion), and how conveniently her 7:00 AM radio broadcast on a sports station in Los Angeles was publicized 24 hours in advance by Republican operative Roger Stone, and served the purpose admirably of deflecting attention from 2018 Republican Alabama Senatorial candidate and established sexual predator Roy Moore onto Democrat and outspoken liberal Senator Al Franken! Whereupon, Kristen Gillibrand and other incensed women Democrats formed a circular firing squad and demanded Franken’s resignation without even a hearing, a hearing Franken wanted and vowed to testify at! I would say here, “woke” #metoo fell directly into a Republican trap carefully crafted for precisely that purpose; assuring that Democrats would finish the dirty work already undertaken by the Republicans! Such naïvete, if it can be called that, and not horribly misplaced sanctimoniousness, among supposed political professionals, is indeed stupid. As is the assumption, automatically assumed, that women themselves can never lie, dissemble, be partisan or opportunistic, or disingenuously shade the truth to make commonplaces for the time direct symbols of egregious guilt in these present “woke” times. And of course, without giving Franken the opportunity to say anything in his defense or in explanation. Such is indeed on par with the request made to a woman author to write an essay on “The Feminist Case against Due Process” (the woman writer, to her credit, turned down this assignment, and instead spoke out for freedom of speech and not automatic guilt-by-association).
Unfortunately, our feminist “left,” like so much of what passes for “leftism” nowadays, clamors for “safe spaces” away from controversy and anything that might give “offense,” such as any views, no matter how polite or humanist in their expression (e.g., inclusive of both men as well as women, or pointing out the vulnerabilities that men themselves also face in their socially-stereotyped roles as “providers,” in being emotionally “stoic,” the rampant discrimination against males in divorce court and in child-custody matters, as women are automatically stereotyped as “better” because they’re more “maternal,” etc.) is frequently subjected to shouting-down, hostile and even violent counter-demonstrations, and other manifestations of what can only be called “left” thuggery and hooliganism. Which is also ultimately counterproductive. Want to give your opponent the air of sanctity, of simply defending “free speech” against tyrannical censorship? Simply move to silence his/her expression of ideas and threaten and attempt to intimidate him/her with implicit or explicit violence and rage! Why else do you think the right has been so effective in making the “left” today look like enemies of “free speech,” of fear of expressing “unpopular” ideas? And really, feminists, do you think you and your causes are so threatened by speakers merely speaking against your viewpoints, or expressing what they might term a man’s point of view, or challenging your ideological premises or your carefully chosen and specially picked facts? If these intimidate and scare you, feminists, then you are indeed no match intellectually or ethically to your opponents!
All this and more was brought home to me by seeing the 2016 documentary on the Men’s Rights Movement produced and narrated by a young feminist woman, The Red Pill. Not only does the documentary reviewer bend over backward to be fair to both Men’s Rights advocates and their feminist critics (though, let it be mentioned, the Men’s Rights activists, when allowed to speak in their own words, come across not as misogynists, but as inclusive humanists who wish to give voice to both men’s as well as women’s concerns). But, as the film pointedly notes, for a certain of “far left” feminists, the enemy is not merely discrimination, or capitalism, or even class society (for in many a “socialist” country, both gender and massive economic inequality persisted, and even do so today), but instead, “patriarchy,” which not only has persisted since time immemorial, is present today almost totally unchallenged, and will persist in the future unless women become dominant, it is also males themselves, who are automatically “oppressors.” Whereas women are not? Not even Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Theresa May, or Angela Merkel? And surely it is nonsense to talk of such heroic males and champions of all downtrodden as Eugene Debs, Bernie Sanders, Fighting Bob Lafollette, and others as “oppressors” by simple accident of birth! Just as it is facile in the extreme to talk of women such as Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Melania Trump, Ivanka (Trump) Kushner, and by benefit of “intersectionality,” Condoleeza Rice, Candace Owens, and the two Trump-supporting African American sisters who host “Diamonds and Silk,” thus endearing themselves to Fox News, as all—victims of patriarchy!
Fortunately, a woman with irreproachable feminist and humanistic credentials, Meryl Streep, has but it well and succinctly. In a June 2019 interview with the magazine In Style, Streep pointedly stated:
Sometimes, I think we’re hurt. We hurt our boys by calling something toxic masculinity. I do. And I don’t find [that] putting those two words together … because women can be pretty fucking toxic. It’s toxic people. We have our good angles, and we have our bad ones. I think the labels are less helpful than what we’re trying to get to, which is a communication, direct, between human beings. We’re all on the boat together. We’ve got to make it work.
And this sense of personhood, of it being not just a matter of male vs. female, but of persons of both genders and all sexual orientations and persuasions, trying to find their way to freedom, equality, dignity, and respect, is the humanist essence of why I call myself a male feminist, albeit, in some eyes, and with a sense of wryness, a “misogynist” one!