“Who is Elleke Boehmer?”
That question crossed my mind while I was reading another one of those “masculinity in crisis” essays that are nowadays a dime a dozen (see “The Myth of the Masculinity Crisis,” May 9). This tsunami of hand-wringing about the plight of men has emerged from academic feminism in recent years and, like everything else that emerges from postmodern academia, is usually 180 degrees opposite of truth. Anyway, I had done one of those Google searches — using feminist buzzwords like “sexuality” and “hegemony” — that is guaranteed to turn up interesting results (and by “interesting,” of course, I mean crazy), when I came across a column in the U.K. Guardian by a left-wring writer named Owen Jones:
Being a man is not static: it can change and be redefined.“Masculinity is a performance that has a deep relationship to power,” says Gina Heathcote, a senior lecturer in gender studies at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). “There are a lot of rewards from it, even if you think of it as a continuum of experience.” . . .
An estimated 1.4 million women suffered domestic violence last year in England and Wales; 400,000 were sexually assaulted and as many as 90,000 were raped. Why do men commit these crimes? “Because they can,” says Elleke Boehmer. “It’s still in some senses socially sanctioned. Male violence against women is triggered by feelings of defensiveness, threat and insecurity.” She links some of the phenomenon to men losing their position as breadwinner, or their sense of power. “So you lash out in the way you know best, that has been socially sanctioned in the past.” Deindustrialisation, change of political regime, conflict – “In the end, it leads to women’s bodies bearing the brunt of male violence.” . . .
What it means to be a man has changed in some sections of society but Gina Heathcote is troubled by how “hegemonic masculinities” have not been so influenced. . . .
Upon reading the name Elleke Boehmer, my first thought was that she must be a sociologist or some other sort of “expert” on domestic violence, but in fact she’s an English literature professor at Oxford whose work, according to Wikipedia, “has been seen as foundational to the field of Postcolonial Studies,” whatever the hell that means.
Why did Owen Jones ask Professor Boehmer to comment on domestic violence statistics? Apparently she’s an all-purpose expert:
Elleke Boehmer, a professor of literature at Oxford University whospecialises in gender, says that workforce changes in the UK have brought about an “incredible undermining of masculine self-confidence” and have “induced severe and troubling feelings of insecurity”. . . .
Elleke Boehmer offers a note of caution. The rise of LGBT and feminist movements has “thrown masculinity on to the defence”, she says. Indeed, you can see a “male backlash” against the chipping away of traditional masculine power . . .
Boehmer hopes that she has brought up her two sons as feminists but she realises that there is countervailing pressure in the playground, at school, on the football pitch. This might “militate against the feminism which is, in any case, quite irritating coming from their mother”.
There are obvious contradictions here. First is Professor Boehmer’s ostentatious concern for “masculine self-confidence,” a concern exposed as phony by her assertion that “she has brought up her two sons as feminists,” which would require destroying both their masculinity and their self-confidence. Feminists are united in their implacable hatred of masculinity and, as success is the usual basis of self-confidence, there can be no reason that Professor Boehmer could be in favor of men having self-confidence, because the prevention of male success is necessary to the destruction of patriarchy. Feminism is derived from Marxism, and approaches male/female relations from the perspective of class struggle, a zero-sum game in which whatever economic success or social prestige any man possesses is presumed to be illegitimate — a product of male privilege, derived by the unjust exploitation and oppression women. There is no such thing as a good man, according to feminist ideology, and why would Professor Boehmer suppose her sons should be exempt from the anti-male hatred that the feminist movement encourages?
This raises more questions: If Professor Boehmer is a feminist, why does she have children at all? Feminists hate babies. Feminists are anti-motherhood, so why didn’t Profesor Boehmer get abortions when she became pregnant, especially when she learned she was carrying boys?
Well, feminists “want men to be easily-controlled, neutered lapdogs,” as John Hawkins has observed, and Professor Boehmer probably used her sons as experimental guinea pigs in this feminist project. Professor Boehmer’s boys were likely raised under a regime of psychological tyranny so severe that they will never recover from it.
Professor Boehmer is a Ph.D. who “specializes in gender,” which means that she knows everything, while the rest of us know nothing, so we must sit in silence while the academic expert tells us what to think.
Far be it from me to contribute to the “male backlash” by suggesting that Professor Boehmer is a pretentious academic idiot whose all-purpose expertise in such matters has as much credibility as we might expect from any elite university literature professor, i.e., zero.