How many data points are necessary to demonstrate a pattern? In the news business, the old joke was, “Three’s a trend,” describing the unfortunately too-common method by which feature writers manufacture “trend” stories from thin air.
When the “Sex Trouble” series began way back when, I was extraordinarily conscious of the “arguing by exceptions” trick through which any attempt to state a general rule immediately provokes protestations about some example that does not fit within the rule. Anyone who has tried to discuss abortion with a liberal understands how this works. Far more than 90 percent of abortions are simply a matter of personal convenience, a sort of belated contraception, and thus we might reduce abortions to 1/10th their current number if we could agree that stupidity and selfishness are no justification for what is, objectively, homicide, which should be prohibited by law. Yet this immediately provokes the liberal into furious rants about the single-digit percentage of abortions which involve rape, incest or threats to the life and health of the pregnant woman. Ultimately, one realizes, the liberal is an irrational fanatic who has what can only be described as a religious devotion to abortion (the “sacrament” of liberalism, as Ann Coulter famously observed) so that any attempt to discuss abortion as a matter of public policy is quite hopeless.
Conscious of this, I understood that a project aimed at documenting the radical ideology of feminism, especially as propagated within the academic Feminist-Industrial Complex of university Women’s Studies programs, would be met with the accusation that this was not “real feminism.” This tactic is addressed on page 8 of Sex Trouble:
When confronted with the extremist rhetoric of feminists — vehement denunciation of males, condemnation of heterosexuality, claims that men (collectively) oppress and victimize women (collectively) in ways comparable to the Holocaust — the average woman is understandably startled and, if she thinks of herself as a feminist, she quickly shifts into denial mode. The anti-male passage you’ve just quoted to her is an aberration, an anomaly, an expression of fringe beliefs that does not represent the feminism that she endorses. She is not a Marxist, she is not a lesbian or a man-hater, she is not the kind of pro-abortion fanatic who views motherhood as male-imposed tyranny. The question thus arises: Is she actually a feminist?
This question of what we mean by the word “feminism” is seldom adequately examined, because everybody seems to have in mind their own definition, so that everybody claims to be an expert on the subject. The fact that I have spent more than a year plowing through dozens of feminist books published over the course of the past several decades — necessary to a defense against the common feminist claim that their critics are “ignorant” of what “real feminism” is — does not seem to fully register with many of my fellow conservatives. Ten years after Larry Summers’ statements about “innate differences” between men and women resulted in a feminist firestorm that ended his tenure as president of Harvard University, most people still don’t recognize the reality of feminism’s hegemonic control of academia, or understand the far-reaching consequences of what is, in essence, an intellectual dictatorship on our nation’s campuses. My reputation for sarcasm permits my friends to imagine I’m exaggerating when I say, “Feminism Is a Totalitarian Movement to Destroy Civilization as We Know It.” And I’m like, “No! You don’t understand! This is serious!”
Demonstrating the cultural significance of feminism’s death-grip on academia is why I keep returning to the phenomenon of feminist Tumblr. Why has Tumblr.com become notorious for a particularly stupid and angry type of feminism? Explaining this would take more time than it’s probably worth. The point is that it seems to attract a lot of distinctly abnormal women, e.g., “Alicia. Artist, feminist, activist. Graphic designer, currently working with a nonprofit. . . . Bisexual. ENFJ. 23 years old. Actual princess living in Denver, Colorado”:
I blog about politics and feminism and clothing and art. I like photography. I like selfies, and I really love dogs. I like sewing and pastel colors and newspapers. I like adventure.
I recently moved across the country with my high school sweetheart. We’ve been together for over eight years and we’re very very in love.
This is quite remarkable. Alicia is bisexual, but she’s been with her “high school sweetheart . . . for over eight years”? Wouldn’t you expect that, if Alicia had been with a male partner that long, she would describe herself as heterosexual, whereas if her partner were female, she would call herself a lesbian? Ah, but Alicia is a feminist, you see, and 21st-century feminism is all about gender theory, i.e., the “social construction” of the gender binary within the heterosexual matrix. As a matter of fact, Mimi Marinucci — a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Eastern Washington University — published a 2010 textbook entitled Feminism is Queer: The Intimate Connection Between Queer and Feminist Theory:
Feminism is Queer is an introduction to the intimately related disciplines of gender and queer theory. While guiding the reader through complex theory, the author develops the original position of “queer feminism,” which presents queer theory as continuous with feminist theory. While there have been significant conceptual tensions between second wave feminism and traditional lesbian and gay studies, queer theory offers a paradigm for understanding gender, sex, and sexuality that avoids the conflict in order to develop solidarity among those interested in feminist theory and those interested in lesbian and gay rights. This accessible and comprehensive textbook carefully explains nuanced theoretical terminology and includes extensive suggested further reading to provide the reader with a full and thorough understanding of both disciplines.
The reason I keep returning to feminist Tumblr, you see, is that young women online who call themselves feminists nowadays are most often either university students or recent graduates, so that their discourse tends to reflect the attitudes promoted on campus by the ideologues and intellectuals like Professor Marinucci. We can observe this in the case of Alicia, the 23-year-old “Actual princess” (?) who describes herself as “bisexual” despite her eight-year relationship with a “high school sweetheart” who, being one sex or another, would logically seem to define Alicia’s own preference as either heterosexual or lesbian. However, because Feminism Is Queer, everybody self-defines (or “socially constructs”) their own identity and, while it would appear that Alice’s partner is male, he seems to be non-binary, a gender theory term that is not to be misunderstood as a synonym for “sissy.”
People’s lives and choices are their own private business, except that (a) feminists insist “the personal is political,” and (b) the Tumblr feminist must always advertise herself to the world by posting selfies and making her own idiosyncratic indictments of the oppressive patriarchy. We are only aware of Alicia’s bisexuality (and her preference for an ostensibly effeminate male partner) because she decided this was something she needed to publish to the entire online world. Like Catholicism, feminism turns confession into a sacred ritual, so that the feminist obtains a kind of holiness by telling her inmost secrets and desires. Like many other Tumblr feminists, Alicia includes her Myers-Briggs personality type (ENFJ) in her profile, the same way others would include their zodiac sign. Declaring one’s sexuality is likewise de rigueur on feminist Tumblr. Why? To ask such a question is to step off into The Feminist Abyss, a fantasy universe where everything is subject to “deconstruction” through “critical theory,” where nothing is certain and there is no such thing as “human nature.” Never mind, for now, why feminists are so obsessed with sexuality. Instead, briefly contemplate why Alicia felt the need, during her senior year at the University of Michigan, to confess her feelings of body shame in the student newspaper:
I spent hours in front of my bedroom mirror trying to convince myself that what I saw staring back at me, annoyed and exposed, was beautiful. And some days, I really believed it. I saw my dimpled thighs, I saw my long nose, and I felt pretty despite them. But usually, I found myself repeating empty words at my reflection: “you are beautiful, you are beautiful, you are beautiful.” Frustrated with the double standards before me — like a Dove commercial telling me to love my body moments before it reminds me that I still need to buy special soap to prevent that nasty dry skin — I wondered if I’d ever stop needing to convince myself to like how I looked. . . .
Especially for women, body image is learned as an incredibly competitive notion. Many of us are conditioned to hate those we perceive as prettier than ourselves, and to feel superior to those that are not. But learning to love your own stretch marks and arm hair means that you slowly release yourself from being critical of “flaws” in others. Freeing myself from thoughts like “she shouldn’t be wearing that” is almost as relieving as finally being able to wear outfits I like without constantly worrying about what’s “flattering for my body type.”
Where does it come from, this jargon of “body image” and the idea that women are “conditioned” to think certain ways? Once they have been taught that neither beauty nor emotion are natural, but rather that everything is “socially constructed,” feminists must next learn how to identify the social machinery that explains their self-consciousness, their sense of shame, their envy, etc., etc. To be a feminist means that you cease to believe that there is anything natural about the human condition and, furthermore, you must reject everything “normal” as inherently oppressive. So the purpose of Alicia’s confession — all that stuff about dimpled thighs, dry skin, stretch marks and arm hair — was to help others attain Feminist Consciousness. By constantly sharing everything, all their feelings and stories and selfies, feminists forge the bonds of Radical Sisterhood, as they struggle to overthrow the power of Male Supremacy.
You might dismiss Alicia the ENFJ Bisexual Actual Princess as an exception, however, if I didn’t keep going back to Tumblr and finding similar cases that demonstrate the extent to which these weirdos are the rule of 21st-century feminism. The bizarre eruptions of “rape culture” hysteria on college campuses are not random or coincidental; rather, these public spasms of madness are symptomatic of the surrealistic belief system that the Feminist-Industrial Complex instills in the minds of young people. Is the reader curious to know how I found Alicia on Tumblr? By searching for the term “male entitlement,” which led me to a May 2014 post in which Alicia said this:
Always remember that women who call themselves feminists will be accused so many times of being man-haters, but when a man kills women just for being women, he is called mentally unwell, and a madman rather than a woman-hater or misogynist.
That 41-word sentence has been liked or reblogged more than 150,000 times on Tumblr in the past year. It was written in reaction to the Isla Vista Massacre, perpetrated near the campus of the University of California-Santa Barbara by the demented Elliot Rodger. As I wrote when this atrocity happened:
It is apparently very important to some people that the blame for Elliot Rodger’s crimes be generalized so that the murders in Isla Vista are not the sole responsibility of the Creepy Little Weirdo who perpetrated them, but rather are fitted seamlessly into the “War on Women” narrative that helped Obama win re-election in 2012.
Having stayed awake until 4 a.m. reading Elliot Rodger’s bizarre 141-page “manifesto,” however, I recognize his collectivist worldview, his envious obsession with “fairness” and especially his narcissistic sense of entitlement as typical of left-wing Millennials.
Yet there was nothing genuinely political — neither liberal nor conservative, neither Republican nor Democrat — about his twisted hatred: Crazy is not a political philosophy.
In other words, despite the extraordinary nature of this event and the freakish insanity of Elliot Rodger, pure partisan politics required that responsibility for Rodger’s crimes be generalized, so that anyone who had ever criticized feminism could be portrayed as complicit in mass murder. Such rhetorical methods — akin to totalitarian propaganda — serve to create the impression that critics of feminism are dangerous and potentially violent. Disagreement becomes a hate crime.
Is it a waste of time to pay attention to what feminists write on their blogs? Is it an exercise in silliness to notice a university professor’s book declaring Feminism Is Queer? Maybe you think so, but I think we need to take this seriously. “Feminism Is a Totalitarian Movement to Destroy Civilization as We Know It,” and Hillary Clinton might become the next President of the United States because Tumblr feminists can vote.
Be afraid, America. Be very afraid.