As I’m sure everyone is aware, the plethora of allegations coming from the Don Draper aspirants over at Fox News have pushed the issue of sexual harassment into the light – where it should be, quite honestly. Additionally, the news about Mike and Karen Pence and their rule prohibiting one-on-one meetings with the opposite sex also came out within the last month. Regardless of how you feel concerning either debacle – personally I couldn’t care less what the Pence family does if both parties are in agreement and careers aren’t being stalled – the controversy surrounding both issues made every club wielding neanderthal in Conservative media decide that it was time for them to exit their caves in unison, thumping their chests and throwing feces at anyone who questions their superior opinions.
The Federalist, Erick Erickson, and Matt Walsh have produced some disturbing cringe-worthy material before, but lately it feels as though they found all the diaries men kept on Warren Jeffs’ compound and are now publishing them. The best part is that women are writing a good portion of these articles, because what a great way to try and create a defense of nonsense material. They’re also having Jews write articles critical of Jews, it’s a fun new shtick. Back to the point, instead of articles telling men to behave themselves and learn some self-control – since, after all, women were the ones in the “victims” column at Fox News – we get articles like this:
And maybe it’s been this intense for a while and I just don’t frequent those publications anymore to witness it, clearly this isn’t a new shtick for the anti-feminist right – I mean, let’s take a moment to remember that time Steven Crowder asked his adoring fans “If a feminist is raped in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, is she still heinously unattractive?” (Get it? Rape is so funny!) – but it seems as though the rise of Trumpism has also welcomed a new level of pride in conservative circles regarding the rise of sexist apologia.
It doesn’t just exist, it’s celebrated!
So… Feminism, the title of the shrewd and a movement no longer necessary, or an ideology in desperate need of a broad and inclusive revival?
As a society we’ve been groomed to broad brush movements and issues, to put them under the blanketed imprisonment of all-or-nothing. So the Muslim woman who teaches her child respect for all people and life is forced to bear the burden of a commonality with monsters who prey on the innocent. Rachel Bloom’s obnoxious song about a vagina’s voice is somehow connected to ALL of the Left and Feminists, while a man who disregards laws and mercilessly end lives is somehow connected to ALL of the Right and responsible gun owners. The thin blue line is wrapped around the abuser of power at one end, and fastened to the hero who sacrificed his life at the other, and if we try to loosen its grip on the former we’re charged with disregarding the latter. You get the point. Our hatred and mockery of a group is far too often postulated by the concept that the individual is no more, the majority is meaningless, and the fringe represents the whole; Feminism is a victim of this mentality. But the hypocrisy doesn’t end there, as my Twitter friend (@TheOneSoleShoe) noted, the label of “Social Justice Warrior” as a blanketed term is nurturing a safe space for Conservatives where they can ignore societal failings:
“The Right will allow that we can condemn people like Bill O’Reilly when the most incontrovertible evidence reveals him a scumbag, but the Right pretends that nothing led to that event. That there is no surrounding culture or chain of escalating behaviors that lead to it, and while it will pour out derision and criticism when the worst actually occurs, you’re not allowed to address any of the root causes or you’re a SJW. Now the Right is fairly certain that Islamic Terror has roots in Islam and sees concentric circles of baddies ranging out from the center. Or it sees how the Left’s actual attempts to silence political opposition begin with more subtle attempts to stamp out speech. So with groups it sees itself in opposition with, there is a very nuanced chain of progressing behavior that we can root out. With racism/sexism/bigotry, it’s just an anvil falling out of the sky. And if you try to address any of the root causes, again, you’re a SJW.”
As I explained in this post, the rise of Trump forced me to disregard the fear of being compartmentalized with fringe radical Feminist factions and embrace the “Feminist” label:
“In order for Trump to be elected, individuals – both men and women – had to minimize his treatment of women, which speaks poorly of the value they placed on those he attacked, demeaned, and objectified. Donald Trump being sworn in today is proof that our nation is willing to accept women as less worthy of the respect, dignity, and protection we deserve in this nation.
I watched as fellow women, adorned in their Trump paraphernalia, brazenly celebrated a man who speaks of women as though they are animals for him to own, and playing apologist for the men who defend him. I found myself telling women – WOMEN – that it is not okay for a man to brag about being able to sexually assault them. Why must I tell women that sexual assault is not “locker room” talk? That openly discussing your conquests and the romps you have behind your wife’s back is a sign of sewer level character that is not befitting of the Oval Office? Why must I tell women that it is not okay for a man to refer to them as a “piece of a–,” and treat them as brainless entity that can easily be replaced?
The fact that such things must be explained has exposed a societal breakdown in which many women have embraced their assigned degraded value as though it is a crown.”
So, in short: We need Feminism, regardless of what fringe the Right believes represents the whole. And to explain why (beyond the election, of course), Matt Walsh, Erick Erickson, and various Federalist writers are here to help… almost on a daily basis. I’m honestly touched by how much effort they’ve put into making sane men and women realize how crucial Feminism still is in America.
Let’s start with the lowest hanging fruit: Erick Erickson.
Sayeth the Christian.
Erickson says, rather blatantly, that women complaining about Pence’s “rule” are humorless and ugly hearted. And if that wasn’t enough, they’re women who can’t get dates. *Infomercial voice* But wait, there’s more: And anyone who WOULD want them is just a beta male footstool, of course. Apparently they also can’t get ahead in life without seducing their boss.
So, in short, he’s painting ANYONE who has a meal with the opposite sex as a talentless harlot who wants to screw her boss to get to the top, because – obviously – the only thing women have to offer professional men is sex. If a man makes an argument, men like Erickson give a rebuttal to the content, but when women say he’s wrong he devolves into personal attacks: You’re not wanted, and you’ll never be wanted by a real man unless you submit to what I, a real man, deem is of value. Oh, and you’re obviously a whore.
But, I mean, this is the guy many on the right applaud as a bastion for the Christian Conservative movement:
It only gets better, guys. The Federalist figured out how to outdo Erick Erickson, something I never dreamed could be done.
I’m not even going to dive into the awkward racist undertones found in this post, but just know they’re there (see for yourself here). Now, despite the site’s editors defending the piece as something to be taken seriously, the writer has defended himself by claiming that he was being sardonic and overboard, or so I’ve heard (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not going back to look). However, in reading it you can clearly tell that he agrees with the content of the article he wrote, with or without the added attempts to be funny.
“Being caught in the Friend Zone is an inarguable drag on fertility rates, as a man who spends several years pledging his heart to a woman who will never have his children is also a man who most likely won’t procreate with anyone else during that time of incarceration.”
Get it? Women can’t provide anything men truly need outside of sex, including conversation, friendship, or cultural enrichment. Being around them without sex is “incarceration.” Isn’t that a hilarious joke? And I guess the way he goes into making an entire article filled with absurd excuses backing up that theory just lends itself to the joke, right? You know what IS funny, though? How women are constantly being told to not only set aside romantic non-interest in men who want them, but to gracefully accept that being told to do so isn’t sexist despite the fact that asking men to do the same would be met with mockery and laughter.
In short: Ladies, the price for existing, according to Hans, is that you now owe any man who pretends like he actually wants to hear what you have to say matrimony and sex, and if you can’t offer that you have to be the one to walk away. Congratulations on being born.
But the problem is that the rot goes even deeper. They attack the term “rape culture” while proving that it exists, and marginalize the Feminist movement down to a list of rights they proclaim women already have. For example, who can forget Matt Walsh’s greatest hits from this gem:
This man constantly derides the social justice warrior victim mentality, yet every empty diatribe he writes is dripping in the defense of his feelings of victimhood.
It’s almost like he feels entitled to seeing his gender be the lead in action movies, and if they’re not he’s a victim of the PC culture.
Yes, we are on the winning side of justice. That’s why Brock Turner only served six months in jail. That’s why John Albert Gardner III was able to brutally murder Chelsea King after violating his probation seven times, probation he was on after serving a pathetic five years in prison for molesting a girl. That’s why according to the latest study available, rapists spend an average of 5.4 years behind bars. Women are brutalized and their lives destroyed while our justice system slaps rapists on the wrists. The low ball estimate from the DOJ shows that roughly 800 women are raped every day in the United States, and the actual number is assumed to be quite higher. And if you’re lucky enough to only be harassed, the friendly folks over at The Federalist will tell you it’s because you were too nice and your shirt was too tight, not that the man who did it lacked control; Now that would be crazy talk. But lucky us, Matt, we benefit from the legal privilege of not being discriminated against because we wear a bra. My word, we owe you men so very much.
I get it, it’s easier to say that we’re just petulant and entitled broads when you can yell about how we “already have equal pay” and “benefit from profound legal privileges,” so that’s become their diversion of choice. And the awaiting masses feast on their surface level lazy arguments while women on the Right flock to appease the conservative gods and collect their pats on the head by constructing their own “I’m not a feminist” posts. And round and round we go, solving nothing and causing even more division, but Walsh, Erickson, and The Federalist sure get their clicks.
Like I said, the objectification of women that I’m seeing isn’t new, but more and more right leaning pundits are proudly wearing it as a badge of honor. They’re pushing the envelope, and then the tribal mentality kicks in and people I once regarded as reasonable devolve into intellectually dishonest rebuttals.
“At least you got to be born and weren’t aborted! You think you’ve got it so bad? Look at how women are treated in the Middle East?!”
So women can’t comment on serious issues regarding the treatment of their sex if ANYONE else in the world is suffering, but men can be offended about their sex not being the lead in a Star Wars movie?
Which brings me back to this most recent gem:
“There’s no way to say, “Okay, men, we women are going to join you in the workforce, but at no time are you allowed to think of us as anything other than a man. Just ignore our breasts, our behinds, our perfume and our legs. Ignore the sound of our voices and the softness of our touch.”
Just tossing this out there: If I were a man, I’d be pretty offended at the fact that their entire article portrays men as mindless stray animals searching for a female in heat.
“Truly strong women in the workplace know how to keep sexual propositions at bay.”
Hear that, ladies? It’s weak women who get harassed and assaulted.
According to the article, strong women dress appropriately, they don’t flirt, and they “nip it in the bud.” It’s just that easy! (I’m rather curious as to whether the writer of said article has spent even one day working in an office setting.)
The article itself (read if you must here) wasn’t even the most disturbing part, it was those defending it who really blew my mind.
“Her point is to not become the victim in the first place. This article is not victim-blaming.”
“It’s practical advice.”
“This is the same thing that happened when somebody created the date-rape detection nail polish. People said it contributed TO RAPE CULTURE”
No it’s not. It’s not even CLOSE to the same thing. I fully support date-rape detection nail polish, I think it’s a great step in leveling the playing field for women. I also support a woman’s right to carry a gun; in fact, I DO. I also support a woman’s right to carry pepper spray or nunchucks and a katana if that’s what it takes to keep more women safe. I know bad people exist, and no matter how much we preach against sexual assault and raise kids who reject the rape culture mentality, monsters are still going to prey on the innocent. But conflating these two issues is so obnoxiously and deliberately ignorant that it’s breathtaking.
We’re talking about the difference between protecting yourself from a predator who WILLINGLY rejects self-control, and comparing that to the behavior of every other decent man in the world. Women should do their best to prepare for the former situation because we’re preparing for the unlikely chance of encountering depraved monsters who have already happily stripped themselves of accountability to social etiquette and morals, but we shouldn’t have to wear a turtleneck to keep Bill the boss from harassing us, because he should be accountable for his actions as a decent member of society. The apologists for such articles are actually making the argument that the average man in the cubicle next to you is just as weak willed as the rapist in the parking lot, so obviously it’s on the woman to control both situations, and it’s her fault if things go awry (How are men not angry at this characterization?).
“She should carry mace because a Bundy character might be in that dark park.”
“She should wear a turtleneck and be sweet with a gentle demeanor but not too flirty, because Bob down in the mail room can’t control himself since he’s just a typical guy.”
If you tell me that you don’t see the difference in these two set of directions, you’re being intellectually dishonest.
And finally, I’d like to discuss a hotly contested label: Rape Culture
Lately I’ve watched articles like those mentioned above, and witnessed the apologetic commentary to go along with them. I’ve also witnessed plenty of men and, sadly, women decrying the use of the term “rape culture.” But what is rape culture? The best description I can give is one I heard months ago, “Rape culture is the idea that society tolerates, excuses, and minimizes rape, harassment, and sexual assault.”
Now we have to ask ourselves if it exists in our society.
When society tolerates jokes about rape, is it minimizing it? When society accepts the idea that a girl’s alcohol level is partly to blame if a man brutalizes her, are they excusing it (“No, he was wrong, but….”)? When society puts the burden of prevention on a woman’s choice of outfit are they tolerating a man’s lack of self-control? When society tolerates a pathetic punishment for sexual predators and repeat offenders over, and over, and over again, is it minimizing the impact of sexual crimes? When society is willing to put a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women in the White House, and they describe his behavior as “typical male behavior,” is society tolerating sexual assault?
As Ali Owens put so eloquently, women bear the weight of this issue on a daily basis.
As women, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. We grow up receiving these conflicting messages from all angles.
Be nice ― but not too nice, or your intentions might be misinterpreted and you could get raped by someone who assumes you were flirting.
Defend yourself against rape, fight as hard as you can ― but not preemptively, because that just makes you a bitch.
Don’t put yourself in situations that test a man’s alleged animal instinct to rape ― but don’t fear the poor innocent Uber driver, because not every man is a rapist, you oversensitive, judgmental misandrist.
Don’t be paranoid, relax, rapists aren’t hiding around every corner ― but always be aware of your surroundings, because rape happens when you’re careless, and you could be next.
Don’t assume that men are saying creepy, vulgar things about you ― but understand that they actually are saying creepy, vulgar things about you, and it is in fact so common that you don’t even get to be upset about it, because it’s just the way things are.
As women we are raised to walk on eggshells and people like those mentioned above try to remind us that if we’re hurt, it’s kinda our fault. If we’re harassed, we could have prevented it. If we’re raped, our clothing choice could be at fault. If we’re assaulted, we asked for it. The Federalist even tells us that if our marriage is failing, it’s because we didn’t put out when we didn’t want to. Don’t be fooled into believing that what they’re doing is simply sharing a healthy message about modesty and relationship advice. Just scan the latest articles found in “The Sexes” category on The Federalist, and you’ll find a heaping scoop of tough love for women, and nary a whisper about a man’s responsibility to exhibit self-control. Apparently all of the worlds problems could be solved if women just knew when to dress like a Mennonite and when to spread our legs.
What a time to be alive. So many of the individuals and publications I had so feverishly supported and adamantly defended have been outed as tools of the Right Wing who see women as objects. For those who clearly have such a sad little view of women, they sure expect us to own the majority of the responsibility for their actions.