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Contemporary Feminism’s War Against Women in the Name of Radical Islam

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Owen Jones opines in the UK Guardian that women are “taken less seriously than men” and, as a result, the “pandemic of violence against women will continue.” Coming on the heels of the famed Arquette faux pas at the Oscars, his essay easily reads as more of the same old “War on Women” schtick, and to a great extent it is. However, his opening argument is worth noting for what it does say and for what Jones does not. Somehow, like most contemporary feminists with a platform, he manages to acknowledge the grotesque abuses of women living in Islamic cultures while completely refusing to point out that radicalized Islam is the number one serious threat to women across the globe.

Jones begins by recounting the story of Özgecan Aslan a 20-year-old Turkish college student who was tortured, raped and murdered, her body then burned as evidence, by a bus driver.

Across Twitter, Turkish women have responded by sharing their experiences of harassment, objectification and abuse. But something else happened: men took to the streets wearing miniskirts, protesting at male violence against women and at those who excuse it or play it down. Before assessing how men can best speak out in support of women, it’s worth looking at the scale of gender oppression. The statistics reveal what looks like a campaign of terror. According to the World Health Organisation, over a third of women globally have suffered violence from a partner or sexual violence from another man. The UN estimates that about 133 million girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation, and believes that nearly all of the 4.5 million people “forced into sexual exploitation” are girls and women.

He stops there, short of pointing out that the WHO statistics cited clearly show that the greatest threat of violence against women exists in primarily Islamic countries. While he mentions female genital mutilation, he again neglects to tie in the fact that FGM is most commonly practiced in Muslim countries and among extremist Islamic cultures.

Jones bases his argument in a story of a Muslim girl tortured and murdered by a man in a Muslim country that is growing more religious by the day, only to devolve into the same demeaning politically correct tropes of contemporary gender feminism. He finds it ironic that men dare to call themselves feminists and decides “…men will only stop killing, raping, injuring and oppressing women if they change.” Change what? Their gender? For Jones, as it is for so many other feminist activists, it is easier to just throw a blanket of blame onto men than to confront the source of evil that exacts a real “campaign of terror” against women: radical Islam.

What’s worse, Jones doesn’t hesitate to make his case for women all about gay men. In yet another ironic twist, after accusing men of co-opting the feminist movement for their own egotistical needs, he uses gender feminist theory to defend a tangent on gay rights:

And while men are not oppressed by men’s oppression of women, some are certainly damaged by it. Gay men are a striking example: we are deemed to be too much like women. But some straight men suffer because of an aggressive form of masculinity too. The boundaries of how a man is supposed to behave are aggressively policed by both sexism and its cousin, homophobia. Men who do not conform to this stereotype – by talking about their feelings, failing to objectify women, not punching other men enough – risk being abused as unmanly. “Stop being such a woman,” or “Stop being such a poof.” Not only does that leave many men struggling with mental distress, unable to talk about their feelings; it also is one major reason that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50.

If gender stereotypes are a cause of male suicide, they only have gender feminists to blame. Wait – wasn’t this supposed to be an argument in favor of feminism and the female voice?

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Why American Sniper Is a Much Better Love Story Than Fifty Shades of Grey

Friday, February 20th, 2015 - by Lisa De Pasquale

For the last several weeks the mainstream media has been promoting the movie Fifty Shades of Grey as if their life depended on it. For NBC Universal, perhaps it does. As Roger Sterling on Mad Men said, “Hollywood isn’t happy unless things are extreme.”

After the Today show on NBC spent weeks building up the movie with exclusive clips, interviews and insight on its presumptive popularity, it’s no surprise that millions of women flocked to theaters over the three-day weekend.

However, I’m worried that men may think that Christian Grey is what women want.

A male friend emailed me:

The majority of women have spoken as to what they want out of a man. I’m not interested in competing with the character in 50 Shades because I actually have a conscience. Do the majority of women who are fans have a conscience?  At this point I’m not convinced they do.

The worst lesson men could take from the movie’s temporary and forced success is to think it represents the real desires of women.

All of the attention the media is giving to Fifty Shades of Grey reminds me of the fervor for Sex and the City. For years women have been told by the media that it is cosmopolitan to consume sex-obsessed entertainment and pursue casual, and physically and emotionally dangerous sex.

Now that Fifty Shades of Grey has surpassed The Passion of the Christ’s opening weekend the media is drooling. Have women finally embraced the message Hollywood and the mainstream media have been feeding them?

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Image illustrations reimagined by Lisa De Pasquale and Brett R. Smith.

Ultimately, I’m not worried about what women take away from Fifty Shades of Grey because it’s fantasy. Also, the media seem to leave out of their reporting on casual sex as entertainment and “mommy porn” that the endings [SPOILER] usually portray a traditional relationship. The women of Sex and the City ended up with significant others and all but one married. Would Fifty Shades of Grey be as popular if the female character lived the rest of her days as a sex slave? Women might imagine life with a billionaire in a helicopter, but not life in a dungeon as a kept woman.

There is one movie in theaters that tells an amazing love story. Speaking of Fifty, this movie recently became one of only 50 movies in history to surpass over $300 million in domestic ticket sales. This feat was done without the mainstream media begging the public to see it. That love story is American Sniper.

Though you wouldn’t know it by the coverage, American Sniper had far less blood-thirst than Fifty Shades of Grey and a much more realistic depiction of a romantic relationship that women and men should want to emulate.  Though a majority of the movie is devoted to Chris Kyle’s four tours in Iraq, the story of Chris and Taya’s relationship is significant.

Chris ultimately decided to retire and focus on strengthening their marriage and raising their children. While Fifty Shades of Grey is about a transactional relationship, American Sniper is one of a love greater than oneself. It shows love for another person, love for country, and love for family.

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In a recent interview with People, Taya Kyle said,

I miss him so much. I loved being in his arms. I loved holding his hand. But what I miss most about Chris is the feeling when he was in the room. He just changed the feeling whenever he walked in. I missed him even when he was just gone from the room.

Taya went on to say of Chris, “He was a man with a huge heart and charisma and kindness.”

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Are Boys the Target of a Feminist Gendercide Campaign?

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Last week social media jumped on the story of a woman who supposedly decided to have a late-term abortion specifically because she found out she was having a boy. Based on a near-anonymous comment posted on an Internet forum, the story is highly questionable at best. Nevertheless, both pro- and anti-abortion advocates pounced on the missive. The dialogue generated took on a life of its own, inspiring the following comment from feminist site Jezebel:

“The virality of this story is sort of a nice reminder about confirmation bias: when something fits our preferred narrative just a little too snugly, it’s probably time for skepticism,” wrote Jezebel’s Anna Merlan.

How, exactly, does gendercide “fit our narrative” in the West, especially in relation to boys?

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Fifty Shades of America’s New Dark Ages

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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This year you could spend your Valentine’s Day in a theater full of middle-aged women oozing over a hot-bodied twenty-something whipping his blindfolded secretary to the point of striking blood in the name of “love.” Daytime television loves to play up to the Soccer Mom demographic (a title first dubbed to describe Clinton fans, ironically) seeking fantasy fulfillment in the form of sexual fiction. It was corny enough when shirtless Fabios graced the covers. Now that the most popular sex trilogy focuses on a woman who willingly allows herself to be sexually abused, is pop culture humoring those bored housewives too much?

While the majority of Fifty Shades fans are typical middle-aged marrieds dissatisfied with their partners (or even themselves), anywhere from 5-25% of Americans “show affinity” for BDSM (Bondage/Domination-Discipline/Sadism/Masochism) in the bedroom. On an issue that poses a particular sexual threat to women, feminists are split 50-50 between being against sexual abuse and for a narcissistic “if it feels good, do it” sexual ethos. Hence, a pervert who trolls Fanfiction.net (the original home of Hobbit-inspired Elvish/Dwarf porn) can turn her twisted sexual fantasies into an overnight sensation. After all, it’s all about love in the end. Or is it?

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Does American Jewish Survival Rely on the Holocaust?

Sunday, February 8th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

For a while now, my editor David Swindle has been plaguing me to start a series on Jewish identity. Like any good family we disagree with each other about practically everything, cultural and religious identification included. I can’t think of one Jewish setting in which I wasn’t directly or indirectly accused by fellow Jews of being a “bad Jew” for some mundane reason or another. One incident involved the infamous “pepperoni pizza at a Hillel event, for or against” argument. (Truly the greatest Jewish American struggle of our time.) Joseph’s brothers beat him up, threw him in a ditch, and not much has changed since, attitude-wise. Need further proof? Check out the latest argument over how Jewish Americans relate to the Holocaust.

Apparently 73% of us rank the Holocaust as our top-rated “essential” to being Jewish. This disturbs renowned academic Jacob Neusner who’s made a career out of entwining himself into the vines of the Ivy League. Neusner’s argument boils down to the concept that American Jews have no real sense of or connection to their own identity. Therefore, they need to go outside the geographical box to find themselves, either through the Holocaust or Zionism.

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Here’s How to Handle a ‘Friend’ Who Hates Men

Friday, February 6th, 2015 - by Helen Smith

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I received an email from an academic who was dismayed to learn that a female friend who is a professor believes that all men are rapists. He wrote to ask for my help in how to cope (I have abbreviated and changed some of the wording for privacy) :

Dr. Helen,

I am in an online group of professors and academics and a female professor who I am friends with posted on an internet meme about “Teaching Men Not to Rape.” The gist of this document was something along the lines of :

1. Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.

2. When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.

3. If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down, remember not to rape her.

4. If you are in an elevator and a woman gets in, don’t rape her.

5. When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest course of action is to not rape her.

6. Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars, or rape her.

I linked to articles to try and give her information on the rape statistics and how most men are decent guys but her response was that she gets near men in public and feels that they could overcome her physically.

Do you have any advice on how to deal with this kind of stuff for fathers, fathers who are professors, and folks who would like to be able to take this stuff on at work without risking losing their job? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

My response to this reader was:

You are too kind. You are trying to engage in an intellectual discussion where there is none. These ideas are based on what makes women feel good and give the Uncle Tims of the world a chance to strut their stuff by playing along with the game in the hopes of accolades. I think the disconnect here for you is “how can you engage with such a person?” How do you deal with someone who thinks you and your son are rapists while being a “friend” to you. Whether she is a parent or not matters none. Many nasty people who hate men have sons. The goal here is to let “friends” or colleagues know that their prejudices may have consequences. How do you do that?

It sounds like you tried to use logic but you were not satisfied with the results of her response. One way to fight back is by using their own words against them. How about this:

“I can’t believe someone with your open-mindedness would buy into this propaganda. Your open expression of such views as a professor may make male students feel uncomfortable producing a hostile learning environment for male students. I am sure that 50 years ago there were women who were afraid to be in a crowd of African Americans but we didn’t design our society to accommodate their prejudices. You need to think about whether it is fair or legal to stereotype a whole group of people based on gender.”

She will go onto deny profusely that this is not the case and maybe call you a “rape apologist.” Response? Was Atticus Finch a rape apologist?

Anyway, you get the idea. Use their own progressive ideas against them and often that will shut them down by using a bunch of Title IX rhetoric.

Helen Smith

Dear readers, do you have some more tips for our distressed dad on how to deal with a “friend” or colleague who thinks all men are rapists?

****

Cross-posted from Dr. Helen, image illustration via shutterstock / 

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Women Who Stalk: A Form of Personal Growth?

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 - by Helen Smith

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I read a story at the checkout counter at Earthfare from Psychology Today on women who stalk and thought it might interest readers. Unfortunately, there is only a portion of the story available online:

The lovesick who cannot eat or sleep are legion. Many go so far as to harass and stalk the lover who spurned them. And more often than one might realize, the stalkers are women.

Patricia*, a graphic designer and visual artist, was married and had a 9-year-old son when she began an affair with a man whom she refers to as Wolf. Lone-spirited and rugged, Wolf lived in a converted tack house on a ranch outside of San Francisco and seemed to be everything her corporate husband was not.

The affair lasted over a year. Wolf pressured her to leave her husband, but she refused. Yet when Wolf told Patricia he didn’t want to see her anymore, she wouldn’t accept it. She would go to the marina where his sailboat was docked and wait for him. She wrote fragments of Edna St. Vincent Millay poems in nail polish on the boat’s beautiful wood: I know what my heart is like / Since your love died. She also stole things from the boat, including a sail. “I became a predator,” she says. “I wanted to catch his scent so I could feel near him.”…

Pursuers may tell themselves that their stalking is a form of love or courtship, Sinclair allows, but that’s “just like how we once talked about a rapist as the guy who is overwhelmed with passion.” Today we have a similar myth about stalking. “People think it’s about being so in love, you’re not able to control yourself,” she explains. “But you’re driven by retaliation and obsession rather than love and idealization. Once you’re aggressive, you’re not idealizing, you’re not in love. All that’s left is the obsession.”

Stalking is mostly seen as a crime against women, and for good reason. According to a 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence survey, three times more women than men have been stalked. That still means there are plenty of male stalking victims. In fact, one in 19 men have been stalked, and about half reported that their stalkers were female. The definition of criminal stalking varies from state to state, but the three main criteria for the crime are repeated, unwanted, and intrusive behaviors; implicit or explicit threats; and causing fear. The study surveyed self-identified victims and was based on a definition of stalking as behavior that led them to feel very fearful.

The author of this piece, Lisa Phillips, has a book out called Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession in which she describes her own experience as a stalker:

The summer Lisa A. Phillips turned thirty, she fell in love with someone who didn’t return her feelings. She soon became obsessed. She followed him around, called him compulsively, and talked about him endlessly. One desperate morning, after she snuck into his apartment building, he picked up a baseball bat to protect himself and began to dial 911. Her unrequited love had changed her from a sane, conscientious college teacher and radio reporter into someone she barely recognized—someone who was taking her yearning much too far.

In Unrequited, Phillips explores the tremendous force of obsessive love in women’s lives. She argues that it needs to be understood, respected, and channeled for personal growth—….

Really? So when a woman is a predator, her behavior is to be understood, and channeled for personal growth. When a man is a predator, he goes to jail. Even if he is innocent (but suspected) there are often consequences, as the campus rape panic shows all too well. Phillips points out that this stalking behavior in women is quite common. Why is it so acceptable in our society? Why do we allow men to be followed and abused?

Women tend to destroy property when they stalk — what makes this okay? Women destroying men’s property is so popular, there is even a Hardee’s commercial about it. A guy has three girlfriends so they destroy his car, writing “Cheater” on it. Can you imagine a woman dating three guys who vandalize her car and write “Whore” across it? Watch the video and imagine the genders reversed:

*****

Cross-posted from Dr. Helen, image illustration via shutterstock / 

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How Jezebel Invented a Sexist Response to the All-Female Ghostbusters

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 - by Spencer Klavan

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If the new all-female cast of Ghostbusters has taught us anything, it’s that radical progressives are locked in a tense battle with the scary monsters under their beds. Seriously: at this point, the main cultural enemies of extreme liberals are made-up boogeymen from the feverish imagination of progressivism itself.

This was never more clear than last week, when Jezebel (an intellectual black hole masquerading as a news website) published a satirical blog post under the fabricated authorship of “A Hysterical Man.” The article was called “New All-Feminist Ghostbusters Is A Punch in the Dick to All of Mankind.” It was an imaginary response to Paul Feig’s announcement that his Ghostbusters reboot will star four women. What we were all supposed to believe was that Jezebel’s post was a cleverly exaggerated send-up of the misogynist hysterics that had actually erupted among the stunted ogres and half-men who supposedly infest the blogosphere.

Jezebel’s cardboard cut-out man is a sniveling mess of pent-up rage and mommy issues. He alternates between bigoted venom (he refers to the new cast as “four angry dykes”) and sudden outbursts of the repressed Freudian hang-ups that fuel his hatred of women (“I HATE MY MOM, A LOT”). The article is peppered with links to actual posts from actual men having actual opinions about the movie, so you know Jezebel isn’t being unfair. There really is an army of knuckle-dragging trolls out there in the “manosphere,” clamoring to deny women their rights. And Jezebel really does have them pegged.

Except it’s all a complete fairytale. For one thing, barely any of the links in the Jezebel article say what Jezebel implies they do. Just a couple of examples: Jezebel’s imaginary man squeals that the film is a “betrayal.” The word is suggestively hyperlinked to what turns out to be an introspective and even-handed reflection from a man who feels ambivalent about the film, but “not because it’s an all female cast.” Another link leads to commenters who predict that the movie will suck “for at least 10 reasons, all which [sic] have nothing to do with the fact that the leads are women.” There’s the usual online trash-talk, but the slavering histrionics that Jezebel satirizes are nowhere to be found. The one lonely little nugget of truth among Jezebel’s fantasy citations is that someone did, in fact, rename the movie Ballbusters. Which, like, let’s be honest, is pretty hilarious.

And another thing. You could scour the internet for days and you still wouldn’t find a single reputable writer who even remotely resembles “Hysterical Man.” That’s even if, unlike Jezebel’s fact-checking team, you spent more than half an hour on research and you didn’t have this week’s episode of Girls playing in another tab.

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Look, rebooting the movie with an all-female cast is a dumb idea. I imagine it’ll be terrible. It’ll probably flop like a rubber chicken at the box office. Whatever. But no one — as in, no one — is cursing the heavens because it stars women. Of course you’ll find a troglodyte or two mouthing off in his mom’s basement — you’ll find those in ample measure on the Left and the Right. But among the vast majority of sentient beings, the worst you’ll find is some mild annoyance about the incessant lip service that Hollywood pays to the delusional far-Left. Jezebels bloodthirsty internet trolls are about as real as the ones Hans Christian Andersen warned you about.

This isn’t the first time progressives have made up a big bad super-villain and done valiant, imaginary battle with him. Remember when Emma Watson delivered that big feminist call to arms on the floor of the UN? Remember when we heard about those backwards, disgusting, cowardly orcs threatening to teach Watson a lesson by leaking nude pictures of her? Remember when that turned out to be a barefaced lie invented to condemn the website 4Chan for an act of blackmail that it didn’t commit? Probably not, because the second the hoax was revealed, the story got buried by the mainstream press.

The goal of all this is to cast the Left as embattled heroes, shuddering but never breaking under the slings and arrows of their monstrous persecutors on the Right. The trick works by sleight-of-hand, highlighting and magnifying the lowest of the low. Progressive bloggers strategically take the schoolyard taunts of poorly behaved teenagers and the violent outbursts of the mentally ill as representative of the entire philosophy of conservatism. If an unhinged sociopath goes on a murderous rampage, well, we need to talk about the evils of masculinity “before boys and men commit more mass shootings.” And if that sociopath plastered vile ravings across the gutters of the internet, then his massacre was the fault of “misogyny and gun culture” in our “sexist society.” By shining a spotlight on disturbed extremists, progressives can effectively claim that the entire world is against them.

It would all just be ridiculous if credulous do-gooders didn’t gulp this narrative down like candy. Jezebel’s fabricated misogynist is making the rounds, and he’s doing exactly what he was created to do — tricking people into thinking that he’s real. There are university newspaper articles out there right now that cite Jezebel’s article — and nothing else — as proof that the asinine forces of masculinity are waging a war on women. Some people are even convinced the post is real.

This is more than a straw man argument. In a straw man argument, there actually has to be an opposing view to misinterpret. This is intellectual shadow-boxing, a mythological Orwellian hate-magnet conjured out of thin air to unite adherents under the banner of an ideology that otherwise has absolutely nothing going for it. Progressives have made a science out of whipping themselves into a froth of righteous indignation over nothing to win followers and votes. If we’re not careful, it’ll work.

*****

image illustrations via here, here

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What Does It Really Mean to Be ‘Like A Girl’?

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Self-dubbed “meninists” have gone on defense after a Superbowl commercial inspired women to proclaim to the world the power of being #LikeAGirl. Ironically, the sexism inherent in their response pales in comparison to the gender bias expressed in defense of the commercial. Once again, gender feminists out themselves as a group bent on erasing gender, specifically female gender, from American culture. The problem is that they are so bloody brainwashed in indoctrination that they don’t even realize they’re doing it.

In an attempt to defend the pride a woman should take in acting #LikeAGirl, gender feminists only manage to uphold the notion that women are weak and oppressed and need public approval in order to be “empowered.” Moreover, in order to gain that much sought-after public approval, women must take on androgynous appearances, hobbies or careers that require them to leave their femininity at home under lock and key.

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Should Women Speak First in University Classrooms?

Monday, February 2nd, 2015 - by Janice Fiamengo

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Assemble a roomful of feminists to discuss the situation of women on university campuses, and what do you get? A case study in self-righteousness and intellectual hollowness.

Such was the scene at Dalhousie University’s recent panel in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in which seven feminist activists outlined the steps necessary to overcome rampant campus misogyny. One of the ideas put forward “several times” and greeted with applause, according to a report on the proceedings, was that university policy should mandate female priority in all classroom discussions.

The panel was organized in the wake of the suspension of 13 dentistry students over a scandal involving tasteless Facebook posts. These included a poster promoting the use of chloroform as a form of seduction, fantasies about violent sexuality, and a joke about how penises are helpful to women.

As has now become standard practice at North American universities, the actions of these few male students, which seem to have had absolutely no relation to any real-world violence, were eagerly trumpeted as evidence of campus-wide gendered discrimination.

What discrimination? Women are now vastly in the majority at universities all across the continent, outnumbering their male peers at a ratio of 2–1. In some disciplines, there are virtually no men left. In those where women remain in a minority, such as engineering, aggressive affirmative action programs are underway to attract them. There are likely a variety of reasons for the notable decline in male participation, but it is probable that awareness of the preference for females and a disinclination to experience both the subtle and not-so-subtle anti-male bias of these academic environments are having their unsurprising impact.

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If there ever was a time in the past half-century when institutional sexism discouraged women from pursuing higher education, it is emphatically not now. A myriad of programs and special scholarships and bursaries exists to support women’s post-secondary endeavors. Whole departments devote themselves to the study of women, and most departments offer special courses on women’s history, women’s cultural production, women’s participation in war, women’s spirituality, and so on. Feminism has so pervaded the academy that every subject, at least in the humanities and social sciences, now emphasizes—even prioritizes—women’s concerns, theories, and perspectives. The vast majority of instructors in these disciplines teach from a feminist perspective; only a tiny minority would dare to teach as anti-feminists, and any disparaging classroom remarks about women would bring swift censure. Disparaging remarks about men, in contrast, are commonplace and acceptable.

So why the panel on misogyny in academia? It’s a big leap to see the sexual fantasies of a few dentistry students—swiftly and harshly punished by the university administration—as evidence of any widespread campus culture other than, perhaps, the normal sexual preoccupations of healthy young men. But feminists do not make political gains by being tolerant or reasonable. From the moment the Facebook fiasco became public, they went into full-blown rape crisis mode, insisting that emergency measures were needed to combat the stigmatizing and silencing of women.

That’s how we come to a professor’s suggestion in all seriousness that first-place in classroom discussion be reserved for women by administrative fiat. The professor who put forward the recommendation, Judy Haiven of the Sobey School of Business at St. Mary’s University, already prioritizes women’s voices as an unofficial classroom practice, and she thinks it should be extended to all. Why? Because despite all the apparent gains women have made, they are still hesitant to speak. And that must be because of the insidious social conditioning and overt sexism that tell them their opinions are unworthy.

One would think that someone like Professor Haiven, with her prestigious, well-paid job as professor of business management, who in herself seems evidence that women are not held back from academic advancement, would be reassuring women that success is possible for those with brains and dedication. Not so. Despite the fact that women now outnumber men in post-secondary achievement, Professor Haiven persists in seeing disadvantage: women are “taking a back seat” and not “taking a more active role [ …] in running things,” she laments. Jacqueline Skiptunis, the vice-president academic of the Student Union at Dal, has taken an “active role” in student government but agrees that much more is needed to promote women’s well being. She has at times felt hesitant to speak, and “when she did speak up, her statements were often questioned, and believed only when a man agreed with her.”

There you go. Incontrovertible evidence of pervasive contempt for women in the halls of academe. What is so helpful about feminist theory is the penetrating insight it provides into human realities that might otherwise seem less than clear. Might it not have been that the “questioning” Skiptunis experienced was evidence of her colleagues’ unbiased respect for truth and their belief in her integrity and tough-mindedness? Might the fact that at least some men agreed with her show that men valued her opinions and contributions? Perhaps her sense of hesitation was coloured by general insecurity rather than by any actual bias against her? Perhaps men also feel insecure about their verbal contributions to discussion?

Nonsense. Women know what their experiences mean, and feminist orthodoxy dictates that they be believed.

But some of the (risible) complexities of that orthodoxy were also made evident by the discussion following Haiven’s suggestion to privilege female voices. Judy Ashburn, a transgender outreach coordinator for Halifax’s sexual resource center, one-upped Professor Haiven by suggesting that black women should speak first. Feminism has “come a long way” since its early days, you see, moving to ever finer calibrations of victimhood according to the theory of “intersectionality.” Sure, (white) women are disadvantaged in relation to (white) men, but they have race privilege in relation to black or brown women—and thus racialized women must have priority. But it’s more complicated than that. Heterosexual women of color are privileged over their womyn-loving fellow warriors, so lesbians of color must speak before heterosexual women of color (where white lesbians fit in the hierarchy has been much disputed though never absolutely determined; perhaps they may alternate in preference with racialized straight women). And what about racialized women with disabilities? To the head of the line.

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In our present climate, of course, Muslim women can claim far more damaging and virulent discrimination than even disabled black lesbians with mood disorders, so their position trumps all others, especially if they wear the niqab or burqa. (In fact, a case might be made that merely speaking first is not enough for these victims of Islamophobia and that discussion be given over to them exclusively.)

Professor Haiven may be surprised to discover that, far from reaping their due reward for centuries of oppression, white women under the logic of her theory may not be allotted much classroom time at all, and may even have to spend most of it apologizing for unearned privilege.

Two jaundiced thoughts present themselves at this juncture, prompted by my own experience of feminism and classroom gender dynamics. The first is that, under the cookie-cutter dogma of feminist ideology, it isn’t really necessary, or even desirable, for all to have their (predictable) say. Feminism is so certain of the uniform meaning of women’s experience—all of it neatly and ineluctably determined by identity categories—that all that is needed is one representative woman to speak for each specified group to guarantee feminist coherence and equitable coverage.

The second jaundiced thought is that many women remain silent for good reason. Having been nurtured and cossetted and praised all their lives, protected from the criticism or questions Skiptunis found offensive, given good grades and special scholarships to help them into university, told that all opposition was a form of misogyny to be outlawed or at least ignored, they may never have developed the determination, resilience, or independence of thought necessary to have meaningful contributions to make to complex class discussions. Given their moment to orate, they may well reveal, as teachers sometimes discover, that they have nothing of value to say. And in this, their vociferous betters have led the way.

*****

image illustrations via shutterstock /  /   /  

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How to Unman a Gender Theorist: The Campus Conservative’s Field Manual, Chapter 3

Friday, January 30th, 2015 - by Spencer Klavan

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If you’ve enlisted in the Campus Conservative Revolutionary Forces (CCRF), you won’t be in the field long before you find yourself face-to-face with a Gender Theorist. They’re all over campus, striding self-righteously towards classes like “Queer Theory and Gender Performativity,” angrily shouting made-up words at perplexed passersby. You can recognize a Gender Theorist by his/her/zir/its/our/their/Wonderwoman’s shrill voice, with which he/she/ze/it/we/they/Wonderwoman will promptly upbraid you for existing. Gender Theorists are formidable intellectual foes, often capable of making several extremely loud points at once. Stand your ground, soldier! The Campus Conservative’s Field Manual is here to help. The first step is to know your enemy. So take a trip with me down the rabbit hole, into the wild and wacky world of Gender Theory.

The basic premise of Gender Theory is that sex and gender are two separate things. Sex, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), “refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.” Basically your sex is your naughty bits (plus all the other physical stuff that comes with them). Gender, says the WHO, “refers to the socially constructed behaviours . . . that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.” So gender includes all the non-physical aspects of what it means to be a man or a woman — things like playing football instead of playing with Barbie.

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The Gender Theorist battle cry is that sex and gender aren’t connected — the body you were born with doesn’t determine who you are. On the small scale, that means boys can play with Barbies and girls can play football. On a slightly bigger scale, it means boys can wear dresses. On a really big scale, it means people born male can be “women” because they feel like it: gender is just “an oppressive social construct” anyway. So you can declare yourself to be any gender you want, including a made-up one (since they’re all made-up). Options include male, female, genderqueer, purple penguin, and so on. I am making zero of those up. My spell-check didn’t even bat an eye at “genderqueer.”

Then comes the big Gender Theory punchline: the assertion that There Is No Normal. “Society” makes up these bogus “norms” like “average height” or “normal blood pressure.” But in reality we’re all a little taller or shorter than average, or a little closer to the verge of cardiac arrest than most. So, too, with genders: “there is no ‘norm,’” says one Gender Theorist; “‘there are as many orientations and genders as there are people.’” All that really matters is who you are inside — and everyone should be able to decide that for him/her/zir/its/our/their/Karl Rove’s self.

Okay, time to make our way back to the real world. I know, it’s a long climb. Start small: yes, there is such a thing as normal. Duh. The word means “the usual, average, or typical state or condition.” In other words, the thing that happens most of the time. Despite what some extremely imaginative Gender Theorists would have you believe, most people are born with boy parts or girl parts. That’s what’s normal.

So then, this idea that “who you really are” has nothing to do with your physical body. At this point, when battling a Gender Theorist, politely point out that they are speaking utter gibberish. This idea could not possibly be more unscientific. In fact (obviously), physical things like our brain chemistry, our hormone levels, and our bodily structure have a profound effect on our emotions, experiences, and actions. Just one example: when breast cancer survivors get their adrenal glands removed, they become demonstrably less interested in getting it on. The way we behave has a lot to do with what chemicals are swimming around in our body. And by and large (normally), male and female chemicals are different.

By contrast, this fantasy that we’re all actually magical elven spirits with no relationship to our bodies sounds like something out of a bad anime cartoon. “Ahhh yes, we believe that the spark of the great spirit gender lives in each man. Or woman. Or Karl Rove.” Actually, of course, we’re embodied souls: our bodies are part of the language in which our personalities are written.

So stick with me here (you might tell your Gender Theorist friend), because I know it’s crazy: people are normally born male or female. That means they’re normally quite physically different. Physical makeup affects behavior. Which means — heresy of heresies — men and women normally behave differently. Be warned: this screamingly obvious piece of information may cause a Gender Theorist’s eyes to explode in shock (careful not to get your shirt messy).

The great danger to Gender Theory is that the gaping holes in its foundational logic might potentially be visible under acute scrutiny by advanced observational tools such as eyes or a brain. To prevent this, Gender Theorists relentlessly accuse everyone who challenges them of bigotry and oppression. From Kirsten Dunst to Kevin Williamson, folks who suggest that mayyyyybe men can’t just declare that they’re women get called backwards, hateful, and (gasp) transmisogynist. And may God have mercy on your soul if you use the wrong pronoun to describe someone’s imaginary gender. This sin of sins is called a microaggression: the subtly hostile imposition of oppressive cultural norms on a free-spirited gender unicorn. The fear is (literally) that by acknowledging the thunderously apparent fact that the person you’re talking to has dude junk, you’ll violently interrupt his fantasy that he’s a sparkly spirit animal with no relationship to his body. Cry me a river.

This stuff has got to go. So go forth and do intellectual battle, campus conservatives! Honestly, in a logical world, this would be almost too easy. Too bad we don’t live in a logical world. Be on the lookout for more tips and tricks for arguing with nonsense in the next installment of The Campus Conservative’s Field Manual. Until then, if you’ve got more battle scars or stories to share from times you’ve taken on Gender Theory, write ‘em all down in the comments!

See the previous installments in this series:

How to Outwit a Radical Feminist

Not All Religions Are Peaceful: Charlie Hebdo and Cultural Relativism

*****

image illustrations via here, here,

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Whatever Happened to a Hint of Sex?

Thursday, January 29th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

A few days ago a friend of mine who loves and lives vintage shared this gem from HuffPo showing a series of modern-day “pin-up” pics paired with the argument that “every body is gorgeous.” The pin-ups, all retro-themed, featured a varying number of body shapes and types in clever poses and even cleverer clothing designed to hint at sex. Because sex, good sex, ultimately relies on stimulating the human imagination. Bad sex, on the other hand, has everything to do with telling the mind what to think instead of letting it take the hint. Which is why sex today, quite frankly, stinks.

Play the body-positive feminist angle of the photos all you want. What really makes these photos awesome is that they are a reminder of a time when sex was a hint and women were in control of exactly how far they went with the nudge, the wink, the euphemism, and the nudity. Contemporary feminists love to argue that being completely naked in public is the ultimate proclamation of sexual power, because they cannot comprehend the unspoken language of sex. Anything that isn’t laid out clearly in a multi-part contract is somehow an inconclusive sexual assault. No wonder they love gays and lust after drag queens. These are the only demographics still allowed to speak the unspoken language of glamour and inference. The shaggy-haired, pantsuited crew wishes they could be that comfortable in a sparkling evening gown and heels.

The truth is, contemporary feminists don’t know how to handle the power that comes with the clothes. Naked they get. Naked comes with a contract and court protection. The resulting shock value, best left to celebrities on red carpets protected by the lens of the camera, is especially defended and praised. Second-wave theorists once decried cinema’s voyeuristic male gaze. Now they taunt it openly, flashing breasts and bottoms to the point of sheer boredom, arguing that familiarity with the naked figure will somehow both grant women ownership of their bodies and tame evil male lust. (Tell that one to the booming porn industry.)

No one is more adept at the naked game than Miley Cyrus, Disney’s good girl-gone-bad who has apparently decided to challenge Lena Dunham at her own flesh-revealing game. Her latest shoot for V magazine wasn’t a shoot, per se, as much as a catalog of naked Polaroids (the Insta-variety no doubt) snapped by a friend while on her latest tour. Compare her nude antics to original Disney bad girl Annette Funicello, who ignored Disney’s advice and dared to bare her navel in a two-piece for a series of bikini beach movies in the 1960s. Funicello’s legacy is that of teen sex symbol. Miley’s on the other hand is that of teen slut.

In the Slut Walk era, Miley is just another bare-breasted woman in the crowd of feminists bent on denying psychology and biology through visual over-stimulation and court-protected denial of responsibility for inevitable consequences. As Camille Paglia so smartly comments to the pro-slut crowd:

Don’t call yourself a slut unless you are prepared to live and defend yourself like one.  My creed is street-smart feminism, alert, wary, and militant—the harsh survival code of streetwalkers and drag queens.  Sex is a force of nature, not just a social construct.  Monsters stalk its midnight realm.  Too many overprotected middle-class girls have a dangerously naive view of the world.  They fail to see the animality and primitivism of sex, historically controlled by traditions of religion and morality now steadily dissolving in the West.

The sexual revolution won by my 1960s generation was a two-edged sword.  Our liberation has burdened our successors with too many sexual choices too early.  Their flesh-baring daily dress is a sex mime to whose arousing signals they seem blind.  Only in a police state, and not even there, will women be totally safe on the streets.  Honorable men do not rape.  But protests and parades cannot create honor.

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Contemporary feminism isn’t just about nudity. Its ancient, paganesque obsession with body image puts more demands on a woman’s body than the simple shedding of attire. Ancient Jews who desired to fit in with their Greek overlords painfully reversed their circumcisions. Today’s women go to great lengths to emasculate their otherwise feminine figures to do what, exactly? Pursue a level of strength biologically and psychologically associated with the male gender? Or carve a comfortable trans-niche of their own, not quite glam like the drag divas but not nearly as boring as the Hillaryesque powersuit crowd?

Whether it’s female body building or superhero chic, flat abs, four-packed and more, are now the ultimate pursuit in female happiness. Women once considered themselves liberated from the forced flat abs of the corset generation. Now they’re demanding their own bodies do the work of the whale bones. Cinched in tight, these picture-perfect bodies eliminate the belly pouch made famous in elegant female art for centuries. (The un-tightened belly pouch that also makes the round ligament pain common in an expanding pregnant belly easier to bear.) Goodbye, Botticelli’s bellies and all the promise of fertility within, hello flat abs and the emasculated figures that come with them.

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Hyper-muscular demands on a feminine physique can have more than just an aesthetic effect on their womanhood:

A Norwegian population-based survey of nearly 4,000 women under 45 found a clear link between exercise intensity and fertility. Women who were active most days were more than three times more likely to have fertility problems than inactive women. And those who exercised to the point of exhaustion were more than twice as likely to be infertile than those who engaged in less strenuous activities, according to results published in Human Reproduction.

It is the great irony of flat abs and nude figures that women, who claim to possess a greater hold over their own sexuality, are in fact rendering themselves powerless over their own sex. Whether they are work-out freaks who reduce their chances of becoming mothers or women insisting that baring it all isn’t an invitation to a dangerous sexual encounter, contemporary feminism has crafted a cadre of goddesses willing to sacrifice themselves on the altar of so-called liberation. The only thing they’ve been liberated from is the one thing they’re after: Being thought of as sexy.

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Exposing Feminism’s Patriarchy Myth on Campus

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Arthur Chu wrote a wandering epithet over at Salon on “bitter nerd” Scott Aaronson’s rant against feminism. Aaronson’s complaints as detailed in Chu’s piece are far from new. As a graduate teaching assistant I had many male students (rather nerdy types) walk out of film theory classes declaring they were “horrible people” and “secret rapists” because they were born male. In the wake of the campus rape lies of 2014, who can blame these guys for believing feminism is conducting its own War Against Men:

This is not a debate about gender roles. It is not about economics or the esoterica of hateful radicals in an ivory tower. This is a war, an ideological campaign to smear all men as moral monsters. It is not a war against “patriarchy” or some imagined evil rich guy. This is a war on men as such – of all races and social classes. It is a war against your brothers, sons, fathers, friends and relatives. And right now, the bad guys and girls are winning.

“…[H]ow could [Aaronson] be targeted by books written by second-wave feminists when he was a toddler?” Chu asks incredulously. Camille Paglia answers Chu in her book Vamps and Tramps, and most recently in her Time magazine piece on the overblown campus rape epidemic. Second-wave feminists believe themselves to be superior human beings through a pseudo-science that negates biology, psychology and religion in favor of a sterile view of the world as a grand social order which must be maintained and controlled through Marxist politics. To put it rather simply, the second wave threw out biology and psychology and mocked God, making a target of every man like Scott who reads feminist literature only to walk away convinced that he’s an inherent rapist because he was born male. As Paglia explains:

The horrors and atrocities of history have been edited out of primary and secondary education except where they can be blamed on racism, sexism, and imperialism — toxins embedded in oppressive outside structures that must be smashed and remade. But the real problem resides in human nature, which religion as well as great art sees as eternally torn by a war between the forces of darkness and light.

Paglia details that Marxist feminists “…simplistically project outward onto a mythical ‘patriarchy’ their own inner conflicts and moral ambiguities.” Men have no such external myth on which to blame what Chu calls “internal demons” which is why for men these moral struggles are easily chalked off as “slippery things.” Chu writes

I do know that what could help women… is to find the guys who are doing bad things to her and stop those guys from doing that. That’s why feminism is more focused on women’s issues than men’s, because women’s issues are the things happening out in the world where we can do something about them.

This absurdity is an outgrowth of the second wave’s politicization of male rape. Female rape, highly eroticized in the ’70s, was legitimized by the feminist movement as sexual fantasy only to become an illicit crime when acted out by a male counterpart. Paglia notes, “…the illicit is always highly charged,” which is why the issue of campus rape has become the most highly charged issue of feminism today. This also explains why rape has become the source for such incredible moral ambiguity and why men, the mythical figures onto which the moral ambiguities of the female sex are projected, are increasingly blamed for women’s bad sexual decision-making.

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The story of Molly Morris and Corey Mock is nothing new to the campus rape scene. Having met on Tinder, a social media app designed to fulfill hook-up scenarios, Mock pursued classmate Morris, who played hard to get until agreeing to a breakfast date. Morris took Mock up on his invitation to a party, but wound up not arriving until 2 a.m., only to find a bunch of male wrestlers with few female faces in the crowd. Partaking in plenty of booze, Morris implies she was drugged and woke up the next day naked in bed with Mock. She decided not to go to the police because “she was not emotionally ready to enter a criminal justice system that would scrutinize her life and choices.”

Her’s is a pathetic excuse that permits the consequences of her bad decision-making to be projected onto the mythical patriarchy represented by Mock and the criminal justice system. When Morris finally did approach their university’s administration Mock was found innocent, then guilty, then granted a stay and finally expelled from the school in what amounted to a politically motivated public relations debacle. Mock’s side of the story is only given by his father via the comment field at the end. He explicitly details his son’s sexual encounter to make it clear that it was, indeed, consensual. After explaining what happened to his son, he concludes, “Morally and ethically I want to say, don’t have sex until you get married. We all know that would be naive.”

Would it? The reality is that abstinence has become the only 100% guaranteed way to avoid being falsely accused of sexual assault. That reality check highlights the long-forgotten intrinsic value of abstinence culture. The moralists who promoted that antiquated agenda understood that the allure of sexuality and the power of sex needed to be contextualized through marriage so societal order could be maintained. When society rejected marriage culture, it implicitly accepted the second-wave feminist alternative. Hence, every man is a rapist and every woman a victim.

Paglia argues that “rape will not be understood until we revive the old concept of the barbaric, the uncivilized.” Likewise, the problem of campus rape – that is, second-wave feminism’s grotesque predilection for falsely accusing male sex partners of assault in an attempt to soothe their own wounded pride and troubled souls – will not cease until moral order, built on a solid biological and psychological understanding of the individual and an acceptance of moral responsibility on the part of both parties, is restored.

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‘Manspreading’: A Portent of Things to Come

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Janice Fiamengo

Waiting in line at Tim Horton’s a few days ago, I noticed that the man in front of me was standing with his legs wide apart, astride the aisle. I nudged my husband, David: “He’ll be getting a fine for manspreading if he’s not careful,” I whispered.

“Maybe they’ll let him off with a warning for a first offense,” David whispered back, “especially if he agrees to take re-education training.” We looked around and noticed quite a few men standing incorrectly, taking up more than their fair share of space, declaring their manly anatomy too recklessly, and failing to manifest an appropriate shame at having been born male in the West.

Okay, tickets are not actually being issued for manspreading. Not yet. But feminists have certainly vociferated about the practice as if it were nothing short of criminal: “The fact is that most of the perpetrators taking up too much space in public with their bodies are men,” asserted feminist activist Davis Carr, who has expressed her contempt for men on Twitter. “It’s hard to accept that something you do so naturally can cause other people harm.” In response to the “harm” experienced by “survivors” like Carr, manspreading has become an advertising target in cities across North America, particularly in New York, where “Dude … Stop the Spread” posters have been put up by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Ostensibly focused on men’s habit of sitting with their knees apart, pushing into other passengers’ seating area, the anti-manspreading movement is only the most recent in a spate of public service campaigns (the “Don’t Be That Guy” anti-rape poster blitz perhaps the most outrageous) to demonize (white) men by focusing on male attitudes and behaviors as social problems requiring censure.

The manspreading campaign, which has apparently cost New Yorkers more than $76,000, has already received well-deserved ridicule by such anti-feminist luminaries as PJM’s own feisty Dr. Helen Smith (“And don’t give me the crap about the patriarchy. If you shame men in this way, you are a nasty sexist who deserves contempt”), the indefatigable Cathy Young (“The anti-spread campaign has little to do with etiquette. It’s part of a recent surge in a noxious form of feminism”), and Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente (“A new scourge stalks the land”). These writers, along with many witty bloggers and journalists (hats off to Katherine Timpf for best satirical survey of the feminist position) have ably pinpointed the Freudian triviality of feminist ire. But the fact that the cause has been taken up so seriously by transit authorities in New York City and Seattle tells us something about our present cultural moment.

It is inconceivable that any other identifiable group would be singled out in such a humiliating fashion for public correction. Obese people whose thighs spill past their seat boundaries? Women with large packages piled on adjoining seats or in aisles? Mothers neglectful of their children, who squirm, howl, and disturb other passengers unreproved while their mega-strollers block exit doorways? All these are relatively common transit inconveniences that most of us accept with equanimity. Reasonable people would find it churlish and unnecessarily divisive to mobilize against them.

When it comes to maleness, however, the big guns always come out, and seemingly with broad public support. Our feminist-compliant authorities see men as fair game to be “lessoned.” No foible or incorrect action—whether it be catcalling, telling rude jokes, hanging a girlie calendar, proffering unwanted compliments, or even kissing a workmate on the cheek—escapes the ever-expanding net of the compliance enforcers. One of my gloomy predictions for 2015 is that the move to discipline and re-educate boys and men will proceed ever more vigorously and punitively.

Expect to see many more campaigns in which feminist activists, local police, academic administrators, politicians, government bureaucrats, journalists, and community leaders form partnerships to quell unruly male behavior. Boys and young men at public school and college will be made to attend an increasing number of anti-sexual assault classes, violence-prevention programs, “affirmative consent” seminars, and “Check Your Privilege” workshops. We will see many more poster crusades telling (white, heterosexual) men what they are and are not allowed to say, do, and think (see for example, Make Your Move, ostensibly targeting sexual violence generally but focused exclusively on the supposed violence of white heterosexual men—and now being enthusiastically embraced by the same police who had sanctioned the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign, also targeting white men exclusively).

We will see an increasing number of man-blaming organizations dedicating to re-educating men away from violence. We will undoubtedly witness more parades of wounded female accusers—some of them stepping forward 25 years after the fact!—claiming abuse by media celebrities; and news commentators will weigh in on the problem of sexual predation as if the charges were already proven. Our newspapers will fill with yet more reports about the epidemic of women harassed in the workplace (43% according to a recent report—but look at the innocuous behavior defined as “harassment”).

Every university across North America will enact “affirmative consent” policies, effectively criminalizing a vast swath of non-coercive sexual activity defined after the fact as non-consensual. Young men at these institutions will attend performances of the Vagina Monologues, where they will see female sexuality celebrated and masculine sexuality demonized. They will sit through dozens or even hundreds of classes in which women’s achievements and experiences are portrayed as worthy of sympathy and admiration while men’s are mocked or dismissed (I know—I live in the belly of the beast). In a multitude of ways, they will be made to feel secondary, superfluous, offensive in mind and body, always in danger of a social or even criminal mis-step for which constant apology and vigilant self-monitoring are required.

It’s not the end of men just yet, but it is surely the end of the unselfconscious masculinity of young men, who are increasingly under siege by a society determined to make them uncomfortable in their own skins, guilty, apprehensive of wrong-doing, convinced that they are to blame for the world’s ills. Many feminists will applaud such a result (shame on them) as necessary for positive social transformation, but the deliberate emasculation of men is certain to have repercussions (already seen in everything from social withdrawal to self-slaughter) far more serious than matters of subway etiquette.

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Eve Ensler Defends Her Vagina

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 - by David Marcus

This year Mount Holyoke college, an all-women’s school in Massachusetts has cancelled its annual production of Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues. The once controversial work, which in 20 years has become a staple of the American theater canon, is accused of being trans exclusive. That is to say that the play’s focus on the vagina is somehow insulting to trans women who were born without one. According to Campus Reform, the show’s producers cancelled it because they have grown “increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive.”

Ensler wrote a response in Time magazine this week refuting the allegations that her work is anti-trans. She points out that trans actors have preformed the work for years and that the piece is in no way suggesting that only women with vaginas are women. The response is far too generous to her accusers. These overzealous censors at Holyoke are engaged in a dangerous game here, and one that ultimately hurts women.

The Vagina Monologues is one of the best-respected, most-produced and most widely known works of feminist playwriting in our culture’s history. Almost every female actor you have ever heard of has performed the piece at some point. And for a generation of female playwrights the piece was a green light to tell the story of female experiences without cringing at the nasty bits. Thirty years ago it was some conservatives who found Ensler’s focus on the vagina to be offensive. Today it is progressive, so-called feminists who think the vagina must not be spoken of so as not to offend or demean women with penises.

Last year I wrote a piece for the The Federalist arguing that conflating the work of trans-women playwrights with the work of women born as women would result in less opportunity and diminished respect for the latter. In a response in the Transadvocate, a leading trans magazine, Marie Bright accused me of being a white, cis, male writer who is a transphobe. Bright wrote “The view that somehow desiring including trans* perspectives is an inherent invalidation of the female identity and a slide down a slippery slope to excluding women’s voices has zero basis in reality.”

Well, here’s some basis in reality. If arguably the most seminal play by a woman about women can be silenced for its supposed transphobic transgressions then so can any play by any woman born a woman. That’s not good for women, it’s not good for men, it’s not good for art and it has to stop.

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Feminism: Adding an ‘F’ to LGBTQ Activism

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

When you’re constantly relying on a third party to define your sexuality, you’re inevitably going to write yourself onto the sidelines of social activism, which is precisely what contemporary feminism is currently doing. With its insane Marxist belief that biological “sex” and “gender” are two separate entities that do not overlap or influence each other, contemporary feminism has bought into postmodern subjectivity. Issues are left to be parsed in terms of value judgments rendered by individuals on the basis of sheer whim. This includes defining what it means to be a woman.

It’s bad enough when contemporary feminists attack shopping malls for categorizing “boys” versus “girls” clothing. The complaint is always the same: “My daughter wanted a superhero shirt that was unavailable in the girls’ department!” Pants were unavailable in the girls’ department 100 years ago. Women wore them anyway. Instead of raising independent thinkers, contemporary feminists raise dependent complainers who derive their entire sense of gender identity from a store’s marketing department. This is the dark side of allowing society to define your gender. Suddenly a generation of women is convinced they have male tendencies because they have a penchant for Superman. It couldn’t be that they want to wear his logo because they find him strong, appealing, or — God-forbid — attractive. Because his logo is sported in the boys’ department only, it must mean any little girl who wants to wear his shirt is obviously a trannie.

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How to Outwit a Radical Feminist

Monday, January 12th, 2015 - by Spencer Klavan
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Oxford — a mental battleground.

There’s an intellectual war going on, and conservatives are surrendering. In elite universities all over America and Europe, incoherent and destructive ideologies are taking hold. Radical feminism, socialism, cultural relativism: these are philosophies founded on logical fallacies and barefaced dishonesty.

But they’re gaining ground.

Take a look at Brendan O’Neill’s article in The Spectator: universities are getting colonized. Oxford, Harvard, Princeton: the “best and brightest” are buying into the maundering nonsense of the radical Left. And the good guys aren’t fighting back. Libertarian and conservative students — the counterculture — are letting the Left dominate social media and campus activism. Maybe we’re scared of being unhip, the bad guys. Maybe progressivism is so obviously absurd we think we can ignore it.

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Thank God for Marvel’s Agent Carter Feminism

Saturday, January 10th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Don’t let the stereotypical G.I. lunks distract you with their butt-smacking, “don’t you need to file something” portrayal of 1940s masculinity. Marvel’s Agent Carter is far from your oh-so-played-out second wave feminist portrayal of manhood – and womanhood, for that matter. Which is why it’s the best show going on television for feminism today.

For every lunk there’s a hero, Carter’s colleague Agent Sousa being one of them. One brilliant expository exchange sets the tone, demonstrating exactly how appealing real men find Carter’s fearless independence:

Carter: “I’m grateful. I’m also more than capable of handling whatever these adolescents throw at me.”

Sousa: “Yes, ma’am. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

Carter: “Well that’s another thing we have in common.”

Carter is a fully empowered female. Sousa knows it, respects it, and likes it. And Carter likes him for it. This kind of His Girl Friday exchange gets equity feminism the screen time our culture so desperately needs. Unlike her Avengers’ counterpart the Black Widow, Agent Carter isn’t squished into slicked up body suits and forced to perform gymnastic feats in order to intrigue her male audience. And unlike gender feminists, Carter draws authority from her sex and uses it to save the day.

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Entertainers Have Shorter Lifespans

Monday, January 5th, 2015 - by Audie Cockings

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This year has been a strange one in terms of celebrity behavior, some of which was concerning if not entirely disturbing, and apparently contagious as well. Examples of skin selfies and exchanges that were once considered private are posted all over the internet. Active participants are all ages, shapes and sizes: beware the visuals of regular people (generally females) sharing their cups overflowing or unsuspecting panties being eaten alive by a ravenous pair of robust cheeks. Who’d have guessed that plumber’s crack would be exalted to such artistic (albeit unsavory) exhibitionist displays?

Yet for some unknowable reason, fans can’t seem to get enough lifestyle advice from entertainers, emulating even the most bizarre spectacles, especially when it comes to diet and beauty.

Female celebs in particular offer infinite health counsel for the masses. And women of all walks eat it up, the more peculiar, the better. Such odd “healthy” behaviors include January Jones ingesting her own dried and encapsulated placenta or Lady Gaga touting her revolutionary “Hangover Diet” consisting of nothing but whiskey… Then of course there is the explosive “Fermented Foods Diet” that Madonna uses to keep her colon free from debris. Sounds delicious.

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The Plan to Take Back Feminism in 2015

Thursday, January 1st, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Take one look at Mic’s list of feminist triumphs for 2014 and you’ll get the feeling that most of us have over the course of this rather petty year: American feminism doesn’t know what to do with itself. Sure, it pays lip service to international women with its only PC figurehead, Malala Yousafzai, taking the list’s lead. And yes, the editors made sure to include a proportional number of women of color on the list, even if they included Ferguson protestors, leading one to ask why the feminist movement would want to associate itself with the kind of race riots we haven’t seen in this nation in nearly 50 years. But when your greatest triumphs include hashtag activism, conquering “manspreading,” and harassing Bill Cosby over decades-old alleged rape accusations, you illustrate how pathetic you’ve become.

A few of these so-called feminist triumphs were listed among the top feminist fiascos of 2014 in the L.A. Times, along with some real head-hanging, shame-filled moments stretching from #ShirtStorm to #BanBossy. One item on the list, however, strikes a sobering note: Rotherham. The complete lack of American feminist response to the sex trafficking of women in this British town for over two decades should be enough to shame feminists into pursuing a new direction in 2015. Feminism as a biblically grounded, non-sectarian movement for women’s independence can once again play a vital role in American and global culture, as long as its gaze is redirected from the navel to the critical issues facing women today.

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4 Fallacies Killing Feminism

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, two wannabe-famous New York twenty somethings, teamed up to talk sex via their “running soap opera,” “almost reality TV show” podcast Guys We F*cked. Broadcasting under the “anti-slut shaming” banner makes Guys We F*cked appealing to the contemporary feminists at Salon who never turn down the chance to normalize twisted sexuality. Salon assistant editor Jenny Kutner sat down with the comedy duo more commonly known as “Sorry About Last Night” who, as they enter season 2 of their famed podcast, are looking to crowdsource funds from fans while noting that their careers are “…getting better because of the podcast, which is really exciting.”

Performing an editorial feat, Kutner defines the duo’s narcissism as “comedy with a purpose” in her attempt to define the two as feminists. In doing so, the assistant editor at Salon exposes exactly why contemporary feminism is failing 21st century women: Today’s feminists have worked to sever feminism from its historical roots as a biblically-grounded movement for women’s independence. What they’re replacing it with, a “social media feminism” as artist and feminist April Bey has dubbed it, is a mere mask for narcissistic, death-obsessed, goddess worship.

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Why Do Jews Struggle with Chosenness?

Monday, December 22nd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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I have no interest in seeing Ridley Scott’s epic IMAX 3-D meisterwerk Exodus: Gods and Kings. Why would I want to spend money on a “gloriously junky” movie that turns my history into a collection of high-tech special effects laced together by a biased, biblically-inaccurate script? Yet, for however lousy the movie itself might be, it has inspired some interesting commentary on Jewish peoplehood from Emma Green over at the Atlantic. For Green, the film inspired a polemic that highlights the seemingly eternal struggle Jews have with the idea of being called out, that is to say “chosen” by God.

I’ve always found this to be rather asinine as far as ideological burdens go. Most people struggle to find their purpose in life. Jews are born into it. We are here to bring God’s teachings into the world in order to make this earth a better place. This chosen status, this calling doesn’t make us any better than anyone else. It simply gives us a job to do, a role that manifests itself through every aspect of existence, every academic discipline, every profession we’ve ever encountered. Whether we’re religious or not, or politically Left or Right, we (for the most part) are bent on doing our part to make the world a better place. Which is probably why those who hate us the most love to rub our chosenness in our face, intimidating the Emma Greens among us into second guessing our God-given responsibility.

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Is Pornography the Cause or the Effect of Men on Strike?‏

Monday, December 22nd, 2014 - by Helen Smith

This is a question sent by a reader in response to a recent study saying that pornography is keeping men from marrying. From the Washington Examiner article on the topic:

Pornography is replacing the desire among young men for marriage, according to a new study that finds males are chasing “low-cost sexual gratification” on the web over a wife and family.

“Traditionally, one of the reasons to enter into a marriage was sexual gratification. But as options for sexual gratification outside of marriage have grown, the need for a marriage to serve this function is diminishing,” said the report.

The report published by Germany’s Institute for the Study of Labor and co-authored by a West Chester University of Pennsylvania professor suggested that the government crack down on porn access, especially as more and easier tools to tap into the Internet, such as smartphones, expand. Saving marriage, said the report, will help the economy and society….

Researchers analyzed data from 1,512 surveys completed by American men aged 18-35 between 2000-2004. What they found is that porn use makes marriage unappealing. The study is titled: “Are Pornography and Marriage Substitutes for Young Men?”

The researchers were interested in how declining marriage rates impact society and the economy. They said that “stable marriages create substantial welfare improvements for society, especially to the degree that marital stability produces high-quality children.”

I think that Vox Day answered this question quite well in my book a while back:

The “strike” theory is generally correct, I think. The problem is that games and porn are entertaining, inexpensive, easily accessible, and reliable. Women can be entertaining, but they’re expensive, inaccessible for most men, and from the male perspective, shockingly unreliable. I would say that porn has raised the bar somewhat—it’s bound to be seriously annoying when Little Miss Real Life won’t give head when Jane Pornstar is twice as hot and is cheerfully performing all sorts of acrobatic stunts. And if you think about it, is a real woman who is average and only wants to have missionary-style sex once a week, minus a week for her period, actually any better than a wide variety of gorgeous porn stars catering to every bizarre fetish the Japanese can imagine and available on demand? It’s not quite so clear once you put it in those terms. The biggest communication problem is that most women see “relationship” as a positive thing. Most men see it as an ambiguous thing. So, when the selling point of Little Miss Real Life over Jane Pornstar is “relationship,” you can see where it’s not going to be very appealing. I don’t think there’s much of a “fuck you” element, though. The guys who think that way tend to be the players, particularly the Sigma players. A lot of the guys who opt out aren’t particularly angry at women, they just don’t see much point to pursuing involvement with them.

So, to answer the reader’s question — is pornography the cause or the effect of men on strike? — I would have to lean towards the latter, that is: porn and video games and other avenues are where men go to retreat and find satisfaction from a society and culture of women and their supporters who tell straight men that they are no good, pathetic, unable to measure up and might even be rapists.

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Why Did So Many People Fall for the UVA Gang Rape Story?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

Christina Hoff Sommers emails: “Latest episode of the Factual Feminist. Topic: The UVA gang-rape story–Why did so many otherwise sensible people take it seriously?”

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

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