The enraged, man-hating feminism of today has nothing to do with advancing women.
Feminist icon Camille Paglia believes the modern-day feminism recreated by Betty Friedan in the ‘60s hit “a wall of closed minds,” and thus represents the collapse of Western Civilization. She’s right on the mark.
Speaking at the Battle of Ideas festival in London in October 2016, Paglia made it clear how far feminism has fallen from its high-water mark almost a hundred years ago:
“The period of the 1920s, 1930s: that to me is my favorite period in feminism because these women admired what men had done. There was no male bashing as became systemic to Second Wave feminism. It’s an absolute poison that has spread worldwide.”
“A feminism based on denigrating men, trivializing what men have done, defining men as oppressors and tyrants through history it is an absolute lie.”
To be fair, the reemergence of this video is no coincidence: Paglia has released a new book, Provocations: Collected Essays, and the video will help draw attention to it. Yet it is hard to dispute her assertions, especially when she refers to the original feminist movement that won women the right to vote and saw iconic women such as Katharine Hepburn, Amelia Earhart, Dorothy Parker, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh as “great achievers.”
Today’s feminists? Paglia believes the current generation of women has been tainted by an education system that “tried to make everyone feel good,” and social media “where people feel they have so many 'friends’ and they want a sense that reality is comforting them and cushioning them and so on.” She notes that when she went to college in the mid ‘60s she and her fellow feminists were willing to “risk rape” rather than maintain a system whereby college administrators acted “in loco parentis” for women, while male students were treated as adults.
By contrast, today’s women are “easily upset,” even as they remain unaware of the “barbarities of human history,” and she contends this lack of historical perspective gives them “no sense of the special privileges they enjoy.”
It’s worse than that. Like so much of the progressive ideology that forms the backbone of modern-day feminism, a virulent combination of infantilism and hateful hysteria has taken over the movement. Today’s feminists parade themselves around in vagina costumes, and pussy hats, insist women can have penises, and advocate for witchcraft therapy to “process trauma, anger, and grief” — all while expecting to be taken seriously.
When it comes to the Rule of Law and the Constitution, they believe men should “shut up,” due process should be tossed on the ash heap of history, and women who make accusations of sexual assault should be deemed “survivors.”
Survivors whose accusations require unquestioning belief, irrespective of evidence or credibility.
If not? A Washington Post op-ed entitled “Thanks for not raping us, all you 'good men.’ But it’s not enough,” written by Victoria Bissell Brown epitomizes the collective male-bashing that is precisely the “absolute poison” to which Paglia refers. “In the centuries of feminist movements that have washed up and away, good men have not once organized their own mass movement to change themselves and their sons or to attack the mean-spirited, teasing, punching thing that passes for male culture,” Brown asserts. “Not once. Bastards.”
And aside from her anger, Brown, who is “almost 70 years old,” embraces another attribute that defines modern-day feminism: self-pity. “The gender war that has broken out in this country is flooding all our houses,” she declares. “It’s rising on the torrent of memories that every woman has. … Not just memories of sexual abuse. Memories of being dismissed, disdained, distrusted. Memories of having to endure put-downs at the office, catcalls in the parking lot, barked orders at a dinner party. And, for some reason, the most chilling memory of all, the one Christine Blasey Ford called up and that we all recognized: the laughter. The laughter of men who are bonding with each other by mocking us.”
In a 2017 interview, American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers coined the most apt description of women like Brown and their fatuous assumptions that all women are fragile and easily traumatized: “fainting couch feminism.”
As for mockery, no one wields that club more forcefully than feminists themselves — against other women. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley, was attacked for standing in “ignorance, loyalty, & whiteness by her predator man.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who refused to allow unsubstantiated allegations stand in the way of Kavanaugh’s ascension to the Court, was referred to by other women as a “betrayer,” “the face of the generation I can’t wait to die,” and someone who should never “have a moment of peace in public again.”
As always, some women are “more equal” than others.
That kind of rank hypocrisy is driven by ideology with conservative women invariably getting the short end of the stick. Nonetheless, the dividers remain unsatisfied: race is now part of the equation as well, and white women per se are the target. White women who “put their racial privilege ahead of their second-class gender status in 2016 by voting to uphold a system that values only their whiteness, just as they have for decades,” asserted NY Times columnist Alexis Grenell. White women who “have often played the protagonists in the history of sexual violence,” while “black women have been relegated to the supporting cast,” as Allyson Hobbs, director of African and African-American studies at Stanford University put it. White women who “use strategic tears to silence women of colour,” as the Guardian stated.
Unsurprisingly, much of this animus was engendered by the same thing that has driven the entire American Left into paroxysms of uncontrollable hysteria: the election of Donald Trump. “Exit polls showed 52 percent of white women backed Donald Trump, and much sorrowful tsk-tsking ensued,” writes Kyle Smith. “Sorrow turned to disbelief. Disbelief turned to rage.”
Why would white women vote for Trump? Maybe it’s because Hillary Clinton was just as contemptuous of them as her fellow racial arsonists. “They will be under tremendous pressure — and I’m talking principally about white women,” she said in 2016. “They will be under tremendous pressure from fathers and husbands and boyfriends and male employers not to vote for ‘the girl.’”
That would be “the girl” who dismissed credible (and ultimately proven) allegations by women against her own husband as a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
Thus, feminists might consider that Clinton’s rank hypocrisy and contemptible double standards were more important to voters than her gender. They might also note those character traits remain unchanging: despite Clinton’s insistence that Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser “deserves the benefit of the doubt,” she remains convinced that Bill shouldn’t have resigned, and that his relationship with then-22-year-old intern Monica Lewinsky was not an abuse of power.
Paglia believes the bankruptcy of modern-day feminism stems from “getting rid of the orthodox religions because they were too conservative” and replacing them with “the new religion of political correctness.” Thus, she concludes Second Wave feminists resemble the “Spanish Inquisition” where “any form of dissent is treated as heresy, and they actually try to destroy you.”
Actually, modern-day feminism is destroying itself.