In the topsy turvy world of Leftist attack dogs, a Muslim reformer is an “anti-Islamic extremist,” and the “Factual Feminist” is a “male supremacist.” This month, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) expanded its political twisting of “hate” to smear critics of radical feminism.
“Male supremacy is a hateful ideology advocating for the subjugation of women,” explained the SPLC’s “extremist file” on “Male Supremacy” hate groups. Among those pushing for “the subjugation of women” are female critics of the far-Left push for enforced equality of outcome and abortion on demand, according to the SPLC.
“Women, too, have helped give the men’s rights movement a veneer of even-handedness,” the group reported. “Prominent MRAs [Men’s Rights Activists] also include anti-feminist female voices, such as popular Canadian YouTube personality Karen Straughan, American psychologist Helen Smith, and the former head of a domestic-violence shelter for women, the British Erin Pizzey.”
The kicker: “Men’s rights issues also overlap with the rhetoric of equity feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers, who give a mainstream and respectable face to some MRA concerns.”
Christina Hoff Sommers has a Ph.D. in philosophy and serves as a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). She also produces the “Factual Feminist” video series on YouTube. Hoff Sommers takes a bipartisan evidence-based approach to gender issues, looking behind the feminist sound bites and examining the possibility that not all gender imbalances are caused by sexist oppression.
Hoff Sommers rebutted the gender wage gap myth — that women make 23 cents less on the dollar than men do for the same job, due to sexism. “The claim is decisively refused by economists, including feminist economists,” she told USA TODAY’s Toni Airaksinen. “The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full time. It doesn’t take into account differences in occupation, positions, education, job tenure, hours worked per week.”
“When such relevant factors are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing,” Hoff Sommers explained.
On other hot-button issues, like the memo on sex differences that got James Damore fired from Google, Hoff Sommers has shown remarkable balance, restraint, and research. Responding to Damore’s claims that biology helps explain the fact that men are overrepresented in technology jobs, she cited research about the differences between men and women — but she also noted that many factors are at play.
Hoff Sommers does not jump to feminist conclusions that sexism causes gender gaps, but she also takes an equality feminist approach, pushing for equality between the sexes and a deeper understanding of social and political conditions that help both men and women flourish.
In this, she has not neglected the struggles of men. She noted that 78 percent of those who commit suicide are male, that 93 percent of federal inmates are male, that 60 percent of the homeless are male and that men receive 63 percent longer prison sentences for the same crime. Men live five years less than women, on average.
“Men have to be the only oppressor class in history who are less educated, more victimized and have shorter lives than those they oppress,” Hoff Sommers quipped.
The SPLC did not explicitly call the “Factual Feminist” a “Male Supremacist,” but it did list her as an enabler of the movement.
The group also slammed Helen Smith, a PJ Media columnist and forensic psychologist specializing in violent children and adults who has a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. She applied her experience to the book Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream — and Why It Matters.
Smith has pushed back on the Leftist narrative about “toxic masculinity.” She has called out parts of the fashion industry for calling men “pigs.” She has also suggested — horror of all horrors — that both men and women should meet one another’s needs in marriage.
The SPLC’s attack on Hoff Sommers and Smith as supporting “Male Supremacy” may be ridiculous, but it also is not out of the ordinary for the organization. The group condemned Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim reformer, as an “anti-Islamic extremist.” It also maps many mainstream conservative organizations like the Family Research Council (FRC) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) as “hate groups.”
Tragically, a terrorist by the name of Floyd Lee Corkins II found the FRC on the SPLC’s “hate map,” and showed up with a semi-automatic pistol, intending to kill everyone in the building. This would-be mass shooting was prevented by a security guard in 2012.
The SPLC began as a legal advocacy firm to attack racist terror groups like the Ku Klux Klan, but it expanded its list of “hate groups” to include political enemies, or activists who represent ideological diversity. M. Zuhdi Jasser, another Muslim reformer, explained that the SPLC attacked Nawaz because he represents the ideological diversity in the Muslim community — and is therefore a threat to the identity politics of the Left.
Conservative Christian groups like the FRC and women who reject the feminist pay gap and abortion talking points also represent a threat to SPLC’s Leftist agenda. The SPLC has admitted that its “hate group” list is based on “opinion,” and that it intends to “destroy these groups completely.”
The group has made numerous embarrassing mistakes on these issues. Its “hate map” marked the innocent town of Amana Colonies as the location of the white supremacist website Daily Stormer. A similar SPLC map plotting Confederate monuments listed elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. The organization had to remove an elementary school from this list after learning the school was not named after a Confederate general, but a stone wall.
Nevertheless, the SPLC has received widespread support from large companies like Apple, which pledged $1 million to the group, and J.P. Morgan — which gave $500,000. After CNN, ABC, and NBC repeated SPLC talking points branding ADF a “hate group,” 47 nonprofit leaders signed a letter warning that the “SPLC is an attack dog of the political left,” and urging the media to stop citing them as a credible source on “hate.”
Perhaps Christina Hoff Sommers and Helen Smith should join in this effort.