Egyptian-American feminist Mona Eltahawy is in the news again, having gone on record suggesting the weekly “culling” of men. She calls this an imaginary scenario, but it is nonetheless hateful and an obvious incentive to homicidal violence.
“Knowing that this is very disturbing, I ask people to imagine… a scenario in which we kill a certain number of men every week. How many men must we kill until patriarchy sits across the table from us and says, OK, stop. What must we do, so that you can stop this culling?” She continues: “I want patriarchy to fear feminism. I want patriarchy to fear women… My question here is, how long must we wait so that men stop raping us? What will it take so that men stop murdering us?” Eltahawy claims to have beaten up a groper in a Montreal club, leaving him with a look of terror in his eyes. “I want that terror,” she writes, “to be the way that patriarchy reacts to feminism.”*
Eltahawy’s vehemence, alas, is not new. It is mainly a rehash of Valerie Solanas’ 1967 SCUM Manifesto (an acronym for Society for Cutting Up Men), which reads in part: “No aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.” Solanis leapt to notoriety when, true to her word, she near-fatally shot Andy Warhol. As she wrote: her paramilitary would “coolly, furtively stalk its prey and quietly move in for the kill.” No man is safe.
Feminists like Eltahawy and Solanas may seem like the stuff of farce, whatever suffering, real or fictitious, they may have undergone. But we should not be deceived or amused by the eltasolanic shtick of feminist performance artists, who should be regarded as the clown-world side of feminism’s Medea-like seriousness. The misery inflicted by feminism upon Western societies has a somber and funereal history, going back to the Declaration of Sentiments, signed at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. The lies, misdirections, tactical omissions and manipulation of facts assembled by its key author Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her colleagues, scrupulously analyzed in Steve Brule’s recent and brilliant video exposé, The Birth of Feminism, underlies the bad faith and partisan virulence of modern feminism.
Influential feminists like Andrea Dworkin, who saw little to differentiate rape from intercourse; Germaine Greer, author of The Female Eunuch, who believes feminism must continue to advance; Gloria Steinem, whom many consider the face of modern feminism; and especially Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, who passed herself off as a typical suburban housewife but was, in fact, a passionate communist writing for Marxist publications were, among others, the “real thing.” Lesser known but highly motivated journalists and academics like Clementine Ford, Jessica Valenti, Meghan Murphy, Roxane Gay, Julie Bindel, and Suzanna Walters continue to bear the flaming torch. Their unrelenting hostility against men is not just a kind of vaudeville capering; it has the weight of substantive authority behind it, a declaration of sentiments in contemporary regalia. The sorority is on the warpath.
While we should not put it past a crazed feminist to pull the trigger or wield the blade, the issue of incentivized violence against men in the social, cultural, professional and economic realms of activity is by no means imaginary or simply a one-off. For there is more than one way of culling, apart from murder.
Daphne Patai in Heterophobia has demonstrated the damage, codified in workplace and academic policy, of sexual harassment hysteria under which nearly any (real or imagined) male behavior might become grounds for firing or disgrace. And Stephen Baskerville’s compendious The New Politics of Sex provides an overview of feminist state intrusion into the personal lives of hapless men. As the DAMN handbook, a satirical analysis of the techniques deployed by the #MeToo movement, fully displays, an unfounded accusation of molestation, assault or rape is often sufficient to destroy a man completely. No proof is required. Simply being male, whose “toxicity” is taken as fact, practically guarantees a man will be passed over for, say, an academic position, a research grant or promotion in the science community in favor of an often less qualified woman. Making a woman feel uncomfortable, even without intent or awareness, can cost a man his job. The destruction of a man’s livelihood, employability, financial resources, standing in the community, custody relationship with his children and self-respect are all forms of “killing” or “culling.” My wife’s Fiamengo File video series has documented countless such cases and her book Sons of Feminism is definitive. Feminism has become a lethal force.
And feminism will continue to pursue its mortal vendetta against the male sex despite the glaring inconsistencies that should instantly invalidate its agenda. One thinks of Eltahawy’s recent The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls, which insists that women must absorb and practice the “necessary sins” of anger, attention-seeking, ambition, power, profanity, violence and lust. That such a prescription would turn women into Eltahawy’s misandric version of men is a discrepancy that whips right by her. As I’ve argued, Eltahawy may be a vulgar lightweight but her inability to recognize self-canceling notions is standard feminist fare.
Indeed, contradictions abound in the feminist weltanschauung. Feminists are all for “diversity,” yet their practice is rigidly exclusionary—of men, of transwomen, of homemakers, of conservatives. Feminists advocate for “equality,” yet as Animal Farm reminds us, some are more equal than others. Feminists contend that gender is a social construct, but take heated exception to transgender females as biological males. The patriarchy is said to be a tyrannical confederacy that hoards its birthright privileges and prerogatives at the expense of women, yet it is clear that men are underrepresented in law, medicine and academia, are inevitable casualties in court proceedings involving a woman, are rapidly losing control of traditional male spaces—even International Men’s Day has been co-opted by feminists—and suffer far higher injury and mortality rates than women. Some patriarchy! The most flagrant contradiction in the feminist psyche is modeled on the entitlement behavior of feminists who morbidly inveigh against the patriarchy while enjoying the benefits of a world the much-maligned patriarchy built—a world of comfort, ease, leisure, advantage, convenience, security and plenty which they have no intention of rejecting or abandoning.
The schizoid nature of modern feminism was diagnosed a century ago by barrister and journalist E. Belfort Bax, who in his 1913 The Fraud of Feminism isolated the peculiar species of cognitive dissonance that reveals feminism for the swindle that it is. He distinguishes between “political feminism” and “sentimental feminism,” which are obviously incompatible and yet are opportunistically embraced at strategic moments. “Political Feminism,” he writes, “vehemently asserts its favourite dogma, the intellectual and moral equality of the sexes—that the woman is as good as the man if not better…Sentimental Feminism as vehemently seeks to exonerate every female criminal, and protests against any punishment being meted out to her approaching in severity that which would be awarded to a man in a similar case.”
You can’t have it both ways unless you are a feminist. Taken as a whole, Bax explains, “the Political Feminists are in accord with the Sentimental Feminists in claiming female immunity.” Nothing much has changed in the last hundred years. Women are equal or superior to men, yet strive to “attenuate female responsibility” on the assumption of weakness or inferiority. Women are strong but women are weak—whatever works to further feminism’s militant aims. For the final goal of feminism is to bring about “a consolidation and extension of already existing privileges.” But there is more to it than that.
I would suggest that feminism is not merely a civil project to establish social ascendancy. It may also be considered a terrorist movement on par with Islamic jihad, only not as spectacular. One may object that terrorism takes aim at the entire Western civilizational armature while feminism specifically targets men and non-compliant women. Radical feminism, however, wants to bring down the entire system of institutional politics, normative sexuality, the traditional family, competitive excellence, free-market capitalism and, its latest bugbear, white supremacy. The ideology that is really at work here is that of female innocence and preeminence, a gynotelic movement whose dominance requires the annihilation and remaking of the culture and civilization of the West.
It is, of course, the communist agenda as well, as Betty Friedan well knew, which accounts for the umbilical relation between feminism and Marxism. But Islamic terror is far more direct and explicit in its aims, as is feminism. It works toward its goal by instilling fear in its designated enemies, as does feminism. In both cases, the domestic ravages are immediately observable and felt on a daily basis, which is why we use the word “terror.” Feminism is, quite simply, gender terror in the service of a hegemonic political movement with quasi-religious overtones.
In its effort to bring down the culture by its remorseless attack on the tradition of chivalry and the principle of meritocracy, its reification of an abstraction like the “patriarchy” into a cohesive, world-dominating conspiracy, its elimination of fairness from juridical procedures, its attack on the nuclear family, its substituting the distaff for the spear (or rather transforming the distaff into the spear), thus depriving society of its major load-bearing pillars in science, art, literature, technology, invention, business, medicine, industry, infrastructure maintenance and entrepreneurial productivity, gender terror may well succeed where Islamic terror has thus far failed.
* Eltahawy might have had a stronger argument against Muslim men, as she did in Headscarves and Hymens, where she went to town against Islamic “personal status laws…where religious and conservative men shore up their control over women’s lives.” In 2011 Eltahawy was savagely beaten by the Egyptian riot police in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where she was demonstrating against Hosni Mubarak’s autocratic rule. Repressive as it may have been, Mubarak’s government gave women more rights than the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime of Mohamed Morsi that would succeed it. In any event, Eltahawy’s campaign against male brutality in general is blatantly exaggerated; she is, after all, no longer living in an Islamic theocracy.