Feminist Tumblr: Dreaming of Their Journey Across the Mytilini Strait



Life is painful for the Tumblr feminist. Alone with her laptop, everything she encounters in her online existence tells her that males are stupid, dangerous and violent. Emotionally immersed in an estrogen-filled echo chamber of Internet activism, she finds feminists eager to offer sisterhood and solidarity — “You are not alone!” — along with constant confirmation of her worst fears and doubts about men. Surrounding herself with True Believers in this digital environment enables the young seeker to obtain “feminist consciousness,” which means learning “to see oneself as a victim” as Professor Sandra Bartky explained. Convinced that she is oppressed by the patriarchy, she begins to behold the world through warped lenses, seeing sexism in ordinary behavior and suspiciously scrutinizing every man she meets for evidence of the misogyny she is certain must be lurking inside him.

As she begins her consciousness-raising journey, we often find the young feminist naïvely wondering why everyone doesn’t support this movement. “What’s wrong with gender equality?” she asks. “Why don’t guys understand this? Why do these ignorant people keep saying feminism is against men?” One of her favorite actresses, like that girl from the Harry Potter movies, makes a pro-feminist statement full of bland slogans and quasi-inspirational gush suitable for a Hallmark greeting card, and the teenager on Tumblr is mystified that anyone could possibly be less enthusiastic than she is.

“Like, why don’t they get it? It’s about Equal Rights, you guys!” Oh, look here on Tumblr! She’s going to reblog a simple explanation:


The naive young feminist at “Dust and Shadows” who reblogged that perhaps did not notice that the original source of the accompanying graphic, asserting feminism is not misandry (man-hating), was The Glitter Clit, a radical lesbian blogger.

We watch with amusement (or dismay) the progress of the young Tumblrina’s feminism over time, as she voyages farther and farther into this ideological sea. She becomes increasingly exasperated that the people who surround her in real life — parents and peers, family and friends — just don’t get it. In early June, “Dust and Shadows” was perplexed and outraged by this:

I seriously just can’t understand people who aren’t feminist or actually say they are anti-feminist. Equality!!! For!!! Everyone!!! Is!!! A!!! Really!!! Good!!! Thing!!!

We smile at her apparent belief that, by the inclusion of additional exclamation points, she could overcome the doubters. She has committed herself to feminism because, hey, if Emma Watson says it’s cool, it must be awesome. It is impossible for her to comprehend that skeptics and critics of feminism have made a more accurate appraisal of the movement and its ideology. Adults who have watched the feminist movement for decades have their own reasons for rejecting it, even if they may not be able to articulate these reasons except by sarcastic jests. For example, we find that as a Yale University sophomore, the future famous “rape culture” crusader Alexandra Brodsky began a letter to the student newspaper by remarking that “my conservative dad calls me Comrade Brodsky” because she voted for Obama in 2008.

Most people who “actually say they are anti-feminist” — with or without Triple!!! Exclamation!!! Points!!! — have never bothered to devote much time to the study of the philosophy they reject. That is to say, anti-feminists (male or female) tend to be conservatives or libertarians who recognize feminism as a movement of the Left, and reject it categorically. Once you recognize certain common patterns about these kinds of movements (e.g., the “Occupy” protests of 2011), and develop a general dislike of radical egalitarianism, the rest is just details.

You’re a conservative and. once you know that the people supporting a particular movement are left-wing Democrats, your gut-hunch reaction is to oppose that movement. Your instinctive conservatism, however, does not supply you with the kind of information and arguments you need to explain to your daughter (who is too young to know what you know) why she should be skeptical toward feminist ideology. Maybe you should buy my book and maybe, if you ask your daughter to read a few recent posts in the “Sex Trouble” series, you could intellectually inoculate her against this dangerous radical virus.

Shameless self-promotion aside (this is a capitalist blog), there is a legitimate danger that adults who do not understand feminism will find themselves unprepared to effectively oppose feminism. This anti-male movement, having entrenched itself in the academic Feminist-Industrial Complex of university Women’s Studies programs, is currently in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse resurgence. Everywhere we turn, we encounter wild-eyed fanatics ranting about “objectification” and “heteropatriarchy” and, of course, RAPE! RAPE! RAPE!

The young newcomer to feminism, who thinks she is supporting a movement about mere “equality,” would likely be shocked to encounter the vindicitve anti-male sadism of Jenika McCrayer, a graduate student of Women and Gender Studies who gleefully boasts that she “feels powerful” because she “makes heterosexual men cry.”

Why would anyone say such hateful things? Because inside the feminist echo chamber, this is all she ever hears and she becomes convinced that every man she meets is part of a conspiracy to oppress her, to discriminate against her, to deprive her of her rights, to rape her. She succumbs to a paranoid delusion — Fear and Loathing of the Penis!

It’s as if a clock begins ticking the minute she starts talking about “equality.” Soon she’ll be on Tumblr reblogging her intention to “Smash Patriarchy” or deliriously ranting on Twitter about her joy in making “heterosexual men cry.” Because dissent is forbidden on the contemporary campus and feminism’s critics are demonized as misogynists and “rape apologists,” the young feminist never confronts an informed and articulate skeptic of the movement. So it is with “Dust and Shadows,” the Tumblr blogger who in early June used Triple!! Exclamation!!! Points!!! to express her frustration that anyone could be against feminism. Scarcely three weeks after that post, however, the same young feminist had apparently surrendered to anti-male paranoia:

“Can every feminist join together, and we can section off
like an island or something, and we will all be safe and
happy and Emma Watson, Lily Collins, and Anne Hathaway
can be our presidents and we can call the island Genovia
and I don’t want to have to worry about the percent
of men who are dangerous anymore holy crap”




Oh, an island? You want to have an all-female island? A gynocracy ruled by your favorite feminist celebrities, a utopia where you will “be safe and happy,” nevermore to worry about all the “dangerous” men out there?

Yes, that island is legendary. Many feminists have made that metaphorical voyage because, as the late Professor Joyce Trebilcot explained, patriarchy “depends on the ability of men to control women through heterosexuality.” Once she is convinced that “male supremacy” makes every man her oppressor, how can a feminist ever respect a man or trust a man? If trust and respect are impossible, then how can any feminist ever be expected to love a man? She began her journey ignorantly parroting slogans about “equality” and “rights” and did not realize what the movement would ultimately require of her.

“Lesbians are the women who potentially can demonstrate life outside the male power structure that dominates marriage as well as every other aspect of our culture. Thus, the lesbian movement is not only related to women’s liberation, it is at the very heart of it.”
Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love, “Is Women’s Liberation a Lesbian Plot?” in Woman in Sexist Society: Studies in Power and Powerlessness, edited by Vivian Gornick and Barbara Moran (1971)

Bon voyage and farewell! Depart! Set sail! Let no man delay or hinder you as you board the ship bound across the Mytilini Strait to that fabled place near the coast of Asia Minor! Just as soon as a young woman decides she is a victim of male oppression, she should buy a one-way ticket to that Aegean isle. If ever any man loved her, his love was wasted, for once she reached “feminist consciousness,” she could feel nothing but horror and contempt for him. Thus, like so many others before her, she will “demonstrate life outside the male power structure.” The young feminist may plan her trip and anticipate the sites she’ll see when she arrives Lesbos. Yet this is not the last stop on her journey.

When she reaches her final destination, the feminist may convey my salutations to those who have gone before her. Valerie Solanis (1936-1988), Mary Daly (1928-2010), Andrea Dworkin (1948-2006), Joyce Trebilcot (1935-2009), Joanna Russ (1937-2011), Julia Penelope (1941-2013) and alas, poor Sidney Abbott (1937-2015), who died in a fire.

They left behind no children to mourn their deaths, and it is to be doubted many men ever missed them. So when someday the young feminist is united with her glorious predecessors beyond the grave, she will congratulate them on their success. Where they are now, no mortal man may oppress them, and everyone is equal in Hell.


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