“Sex is compulsory in marriage. . . . It is clear that the compulsory nature of sex in marriage operates to the advantage of the male. . . . The enslavement of women in marriage is all the more cruel and inhumane by virtue of the fact that it appears to exist with the consent of the enslaved group.”
— Sheila Cronan, 1970
Marriage is slavery, “cruel and inhumane.” This is a fundamental tenet of feminist ideology. No feminist would consent to marriage, because this involves “compulsory” sex. Feminists are against marriage because they are against sex, which “operates to the advantage of the male.”
Sheila Cronan was a prominent member of a group co-founded by Ti-Grace Atkinson and Anne Koedt. Atkinson, who had been handpicked by Betty Friedan as president of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), walked out in 1968 in a dispute with NOW’s national leadership and formed what she called “The October 17th Movement.” This was subsequently renamed “The Feminists,” thereby giving a name to the movement they led. They announced their goal and described their ideology in their June 1969 manifesto, “The Feminists: A Political Organization to Annihilate Sex Roles”:
The class separation between men and women is a political division. . . . The role (or class) system must be destroyed. . . .
Men . . . are the enemies and the Oppressors of women. . . . Both the male role and the female role must be annihilated. . . .
The pathology of oppression can only be fully comprehended in its primary development: the male-female division. . . . The sex roles themselves must be destroyed.
(Radical Feminism, edited by Anne Koedt, et al., pp. 369-370)
This view of “the male-female division” as a political system, a “pathology of oppression” which “must be destroyed” and “annihilated,” has defined feminism for more than four decades. To disagree with The Feminists — to doubt their claim that men are “the enemies” of women, to deny that marriage is slavery, etc. — is to reject feminism as it has existed since the 1960s. Attempting to evade this history, to define the movement as having some goal other than what The Feminists declared in their founding manifesto, has the effect of depriving “feminism” of any useful definition, making it possible for any woman to call herself a “feminist” without bothering to know what this word actually means.
What does Beyoncé Knowles mean when she calls herself a feminist? Does she mean that her marriage to Jay Z is “enslavement”? Is her husband her enemy and an oppressor? Does she believe “sex roles themselves must be destroyed”? Has Beyoncé ever studied feminist theory? Probably not.
One of the earliest protests staged by The Feminists in 1969 was at the marriage license bureau in New York City. Ti-Grace Atkinson told a Timemagazine reporter: “Love has to be destroyed. It’s an illusion that people care for each other. . . . It may be that sex is a neurotic manifestation of oppression. It’s like a mass psychosis.” Other leading members of The Feminists were Pam Kearon and Barbara Mehrhof. Kearon had participated in the Women’s Liberation Movement’s first public protest in September 1968 against the Miss America pageant. In a 1971 paper called “Rape: An Act of Terror,” Mehrhof and Kearon declared:
There is no group other than slaves that has been singled out for such systematic and total exploitation and suppression as the class of women. . . .
Sexual intercourse . . . provides sexism with an inimitable act which perfectly expresses the polarity male/female. . . . Rape adds the quality of terror.
Terror is an integral part of the oppression of women. Its purpose is to ensure, as a final measure, the acceptance by women of the inevitability of male domination. . . . There are no actions or forms of behavior sufficient to avoid its danger. There is no sign that designates a rapist since each male is potentially one.
(Radical Feminism, edited by Anne Koedt, et al., pp. 228-230)
Another one of Pam Kearon’s contributions to The Feminists was a defense of “man-hating” as “the realization of our past and continued subjugation,” in which she denounced men as “misogynists” and declared: “Our whole society (including too many of the women in it) hates women.”
Is this true? Was it true in 1969? Was my mother in “continued subjugation” to my father? Has every wife in human history been a victim of “cruel and inhumane” enslavement by her husband, the oppressor?
“And it’s not just rape that’s the joke — it’s women. Our very existence is presented to young men as fodder for sex and laughs, our humiliation and pain as goal posts for their masculinity. Basically, we’re anything other than people deserving respect and humanity.”
— Jessica Valenti, 2013
Is this true? Does it apply to Jessica Valenti’s husband? Does her husband treat women as a joke? Does he enjoy inflicting “pain and humiliation” on her? Does her husband view her as not “deserving respect and humanity”? If this is not the case, then why does Jessica Valenti expect us to believeher husband is better than other women’s husbands? Why would Jessica Valenti think she can libel my sons — and every other young man included in her categorical denunciation of masculinity — and expect me not to resent her recklessly hateful anti-male rhetoric?
Feminism is an insult to the intelligence of everyone who has two eyes and a brain. Feminism’s ideology and rhetoric are insulting to every honest man who ever lived and to every honest woman who ever loved a man. Why do feminists today constantly denounce men as “misogynists” for disagreeing with them? Why do feminists claim to be victims of “online harassment”? Why do university students engage in disruptive protests whenever anyone who dissents from feminism’s anti-male ideology — George Will, Wendy McElroy, Christina Hoff Sommers, Milo Yiannopoulous — dares to speak on campus?
Liars hate the truth, and feminists therefore seek to silence those who tell the truth about feminism. When I undertook the Sex Trouble project in 2014, at the behest of readers who urged me to write a book about radical feminism’s War Against Human Nature, I had already studied the movement’s history and ideology for years. Readers are encouraged to consider a few of the books (including accounts by feminists themselves) that explain how feminism began and what feminism means:
- The Inevitability of Patriarchy: Why the Biological Difference Between Men and Women Always Produces Male Domination by Steven Goldberg, 1973
- Personal Politics: The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement & the New Left by Sara Evans, 1979
- Daring To Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America 1967-1975 by Alice Echols, 1989
- Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women by Christina Hoff Sommers, 1994
- Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies by Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, 1995 (2nd edition, 2003)
- Domestic Tranquility: A Brief Against Feminism by F. Carolyn Graglia, 1998
- Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism by Daphne Patai, 1998
- In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution by Susan Brownmiller, 1999
- The Decline of Males: The First Look at an Unexpected New World for Men and Women by Lionel Tiger, 1999
- The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex and Feminism, by Carrie L. Lukas, 2006
- Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream — and Why It Matters by Helen Smith, 2013
This brief list of 11 books would suffice as the syllabus for an introductory course, “Critical History and Theory of Modern Feminism.” The histories by Brownmiller, Evans and Echols — all feminists who were directly involved in the movement in the 1960s and ’70s — are particularly useful in understanding how modern feminism emerged from the radical New Left of that era. The works of Professor Goldberg (a sociologist), Professor Tiger (an anthropologist) and Dr. Smith (a psychologist) serve as learned discussions of male/female differences and the consequences of feminism’s demand for “equality.” Professing Feminism andHeterophobia both examine the influence of feminism in academia. Professor Sommers and her landmark 1994 book perhaps need no introduction. Graglia’s book is a defense of traditional womanhood, and Lukas offers a comprehensive survey in an easy-to-read format.
“All that is necessary to discredit feminism is to tell the truth about feminism.”
— Robert Stacy McCain, Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature
Feminists know this as well as I do. Feminists refuse to engage in dialogue with opponents and do not even acknowledge informed criticism, instead engaging in efforts to silence dissent. Feminism is always a lecture, never a debate. The First Rule of Feminism is “Shut Up!”
Ordinary men and women who attempt to express their disagreement with feminists find themselves accused of “harassment.” This is a dishonest tactic by which feminists smear their critics as dangerous and violent, falsely implying that it is a crime to criticize feminism. These propaganda tactics function to marginalize anyone who calls attention to the radical ideology and deranged rhetoric of feminists. If everyone who criticizes feminism is a misogynist, and if it is “harassment” to express disagreement, the critic of feminism is a Thought Criminal.
Because feminism exercises hegemonic authority in academia, 21st-century college and university students are never exposed to any opposing perspective. This is why students now claim to be “invalidated” and “traumatized” when critics of feminism appear on campus.