Posted on | August 15, 2014 | 80 Comments
Carmen Rios (@c_rios) is communications coordinator at the Feminist Majority Foundation and also a columnist at the lesbian blog Autostraddle, which has been sarcastically called “Cosmo for Queers.” Ms. Rios’ career as a lesbian activist was the subject of a blog post here Sunday, the latest in my “Sex Trouble” series about radical feminism. This got noticed by her fellow Autostraddlers, who put up a post titled:
Of course, I didn’t think of my article as a “hit piece,” and have no personal animosity toward Ms. Rios. As I explained in my article, I had never heard of her until I was researching the question of how many colleges and universities have Women’s Studies programs and how many students those programs enroll. Ms. Rios had written a column that included data on this topic and, in the same article, referenced the idea of Women’s Studies being “Lesbo Recruitment 101.” In another column (part of a series by her), Ms. Rios told how she personally became a “raging lesbian feminist” after taking a Women’s Studies class. These refreshingly honest remarks were entirely in keeping with what I’d learned in my research about radical feminist theory, and the fact that the Women’s Studies curriculum at most schools is anti-male and anti-heterosexual, i.e., “Feminism is a journey to lesbianism.”
Whether or not you are a feminist (obviously, I’m not) or a lesbian (obviously, I’m not), the correlation between these three variables — radical feminism, lesbianism, and Women’s Studies programs — is a phenomenon worthy of critical scrutiny. Everyone who has followed my months of research on the subject probably could offer his or her own interpretation of this phenomenon; I’m not in a position to decree what you should believe. At times, I have offered my own speculations and insights, but what I have mainly done is to quote feminist spokeswomen (authors, academics and activists) whose theories form the core of the attack on what has been called “heteronormative patriarchy.”
“Feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice.”
— Ti-Grace Atkinson, 1971
“Male dominance is sexual. . . .
“A feminist theory of sexuality would locate sexuality within a theory of gender inequality, meaning the social hierarchy of men over women. . . .
“To be clear: what is sexual is what gives a man an erection. Whatever it takes to make a penis shudder and stiffen with the experience of its potency is what sexuality means culturally. . . . All this suggests that that which is called sexuality is the dynamic of control by which male dominance . . . eroticizes as man and woman, as identity and pleasure. It is also that which maintains and defines male supremacy as a political system.”
— Catharine MacKinnon, “Sexuality, Pornography, and Method: ‘Pleasure under Patriarchy'” (1989)
“The simple fact is that every woman must be willing to be identified as a lesbian to be fully feminist.”
— Sheila Cronan, 1988
“There is no analogue anywhere among subordinated groups of people to this experience of being made for intercourse: for penetration, entry, occupation. . . . Intercourse is a particular reality for women as an inferior class; and it has in it, as part of it, violation of boundaries, taking over, occupation, destruction of privacy, all of which are construed to be normal and also fundamental to continuing human existence. . . .
“Maybe life is tragic and the God who does not exist made women inferior so that men could fuck us; or maybe we can only know this much for certain — that when intercourse exists and is experienced under conditions of force, fear, or inequality, it destroys in women the will to political freedom; it destroys the love of freedom itself. We become female: occupied; collaborators against each other . . .”
— Andrea Dworkin, Intercourse (1987)
“Men have been creating ideologies and political practices which naturalize female heterosexuality continuously in every culture since the dawns of the patriarchies. . . . Female heterosexuality is not a biological drive or an individual woman’s erotic attraction . . . Female heterosexuality is a set of social institutions and practices.”
— Marilyn Frye, 1992
“Some of the forms by which male power manifests itself are more easily recognizable as enforcing heterosexuality on women than are others. Yet each one . . . adds to the cluster of forces within which women have been convinced that marriage and sexual orientation toward men are inevitable, even if unsatisfying or oppressive components of their lives. . . .
“The assumption that ‘most women are innately heterosexual’ stands as a theoretical and political stumbling block for many women. . . . [T]o acknowledge that for women heterosexuality may not be a ‘preference’ at all but something that has had to be imposed, managed, organized, propagandized and maintained by force is an immense step to take if you consider yourself freely and ‘innately’ heterosexual. Yet the failure to examine heterosexuality as an institution is like failing to admit that the economic system called capitalism or the caste system of racism is maintained by a variety of forces, including both physical violence and false consciousness.”
— Adrienne Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” (1982)
“Male supremacy is centered on the act of sexual intercourse, justified by heterosexual practice.”
— Sheila Jeffreys, 2005
“I am Female. This means I have a Female reproductive system and am vulnerable to impregnation, like all Females, by Males . . .
“What are the behaviors and roles considered appropriate for one’s sex? . . .
“If you are a Feminist . . . the answer to this should be ‘There are no behaviors and roles considered appropriate for my sex because Females can be and do anything.’
“If you are not a Feminist, your answer might be ‘My role as a women is to be a Wife (fuckhole) and Mother (breeder).'”
— Cathy Brennan, December 2012
You, the regular readers, have seen most or all of these quotes at various times since January, when the conservative blogosphere first erupted in mocking laughter at the feminist who proclaimed, “PIV is always rape, OK?” For most people, that was just a one-day joke — “Was she dropped on her head?” — but because I have studied feminism in some depth over the years, I recognized that, however crazy this poor woman’s anti-heterosexuality screed seemed, it was entirely consistent with radical feminist ideology. And this ideology, rather than bland slogans about “equality,” is what comprises feminism as it is taught to the tens of thousands of college students enrolled in Women’s Studies programs on American campuses.
This explains many things that may otherwise seem mysterious, for example the intolerant vehemence of feminist activists in their hostility toward men, Christianity and the traditional family.
From their point of view — what feminists are taught in Women’s Studies courses — the woman who has a husband and children is being cruelly oppressed by the patriarchy, a conspiratorial apparatus of male supremacy. According to the best available data, about 98% of Americans are heterosexual, yet the expectations of normal parents that their children will also be normal are condemned by feminists as a type of harmful prejudice called heteronormativity.
These core doctrines of radical feminism are not new, nor are these “fringe” beliefs within the feminist movement. The most widely assigned anthology of feminist literature, used as an introductory text in many Women’s Studies programs, is edited by three lesbian professors, and syllabi for Women’s Studies classes routinely include assignments of anti-male/anti-heterosexual writings by such radical authors as Adrienne Rich, Charlotte Bunch, Sheila Jeffreys, Andrea Dworkin, Janice Raymond and Mary Daly.
One cannot effectively oppose an ideology one does not understand. We are in a Culture War that began long ago and far away:
In 1919, Georg Lukacs became Deputy Commissar for Culture in the short-lived Bolshevik Bela Kun regime in Hungary. He immediately set plans in motion to de-Christianize Hungary. Reasoning that if Christian sexual ethics could be undermined among children, then both the hated patriarchal family and the Church would be dealt a crippling blow. Lukacs launched a radical sex education program in the schools. Sex lectures were organized and literature handed out which graphically instructed youth in free love (promiscuity) and sexual intercourse while simultaneously encouraging them to deride and reject Christian moral ethics, monogamy, and parental and church authority. All of this was accompanied by a reign of cultural terror perpetrated against parents, priests, and dissenters.
The phenomenon originated by Lukacs, Cultural Marxism, is generally today known as political correctness, and its objective has never changed. The goal is to destroy Christianity, and with it the “bourgeois morality” that Marxists understood as the cultural underpinning of Western democratic capitalist society. Once we understand feminism in the larger context of Cultural Marxism, we recognize that (a) bland slogans like “equality,” “choice” and “progress” are not the actual agenda; (b) the actual agenda involves the wholesale destruction of Western civilization; and (c) the people involved in advancing this agenda are the enemies of all humanity.
It is easy enough to laugh at these people as kooks, but the startling fact is that radical feminists exercise such influence on American university campuses that no one within academia dares oppose them, as was illustrated when Lawrence Summers was hounded out of office as president of Harvard University for merely suggesting that there may be “innate” differences between men and women. The fact that Carmen Rios became an award-winning student leader as a “raging lesbian feminist” in American University’s Women’s Studies program is a rather large clue as to what is being taught in that program. And the fact that Ms. Rios went onto a post-graduate career as communications coordinator for the Feminist Majority Foundation (annual budget $6.5 million) indicates that such radicalism is welcomed within “mainstream” feminism.
Who sponsors the annual Young Feminist Conference in D.C.? The Feminist Majority Foundation. And who was moderator of the conference’s digital communications panel discussion? Carmen Rios. So when college girls want to learn how to promote feminism online, it’s the “raging lesbian feminist” who teaches them.
Why is it a “hit piece” simply to point out that Carmen Rios lives a life consistent with her beliefs? Feminism teaches young women that men are their enemies and that heterosexuality is a weapon of male supremacy. It is therefore impossible to imagine why any woman who subscribes to feminist ideology would be interested in a normal life of men, marriage and motherhood. Even if she were able to reconcile her anti-male belief system with a sexual interest in men, no feminist could ever be happy in such a relationship, even stipulating that any man would be interested in a relationship with her. This impossibility is obvious enough to some:
I was already feminist, had almost perceived that PIV [penis-in-vagina, i.e., normal sexual intercourse] was inherently violent and a way to humiliate women, and that all men wanted was to use us as receptacles for their dicks. So I first thought that if I wanted to date a man, a way to prevent being used by them as their dick-socket to be thrown away the minute after, I’d have to choose one I knew for a long time and could trust he wouldn’t abuse me, had already built an equal, friendly, respectful relationship with him which stood the test of time, and especially, they would have to understand feminism and i should be able to be feminist with them without feeling uncomfortable about it.
Well I very quickly realised that this standard was totally impossible! Once I held this standard for interacting with men, they all disappeared out of my life very quickly. It became obvious that men didn’t want to interact with me or with women in general on an equal level, and that what “attracted” them in women was subordination to them — as soon as we wanted to be their “equals” they were repelled by it, lost interest or tried to thwart the feminist drive in me some way or another. This was a major eye-opener. I’ve said this before in various comments but I found this experience really amazing — just setting the bar high for men made them disappear out of my life.
This was written by Ms. Anti-PIV at her “Radical Wind” blog, and is an accurate portrayal of the implicit logic of feminism: Accepting the core premise that women (collectively) are oppressed by men (collectively), a woman is led to perceive normal relationships with men as characterized by her “subordination,” as she is “humiliated” and reduced to the status of “dick-socket.” She then makes “equality” the standard by which she judges men; which is to say, she cannot imagine a man who deserves admiration as superior to her in any way. It is impossible for her to “look up” to any man. Indeed, given her description of men — every single one of whom she condemns as abusive, selfish and “inherently violent” — feminism leads her to view males to be decidedly inferior to females. Her “totally impossible” demand of males, to make them suitable as her companions, is that they must accept this hateful verdict against themselves: Men must “understand feminism,” so she will “be able to be feminist with them,” whatever the hell that means.
One might analyze this particular woman’s statements endlessly, or simply dismiss her as insane. It seems impossible for her to accept that there is something defective in her personality, namely her apparent lack of the normal female sex urge. She evidently cannot even imagine the feelings of normal women, who seek male companionship because they genuinely desire and enjoy that experience she coarsely condemns as “being used by [men] as their dick-socket.” She has elsewhere recounted her unfortunate dating history with men, so that we know why she presumes that all women are “used,” then immediately “thrown away” after sex with men. No man has ever genuinely cherished her, nor has any man ever sought her as his permanent life partner.
Yet it is not the peculiar details of her personality and experiences that are truly important in Radical Wind’s testimony. The larger significance is in how her experience (and her analysis of it) conform generally to feminist theory. If indeed women’s condition is one of cruel oppression and unfair subordination, a condition imposed upon them by the selfishness of men, no man can ever possibly be worthy of the admiration and respect of any woman. Male erotic interest in women is, according to feminist ideology, the basic cause of women’s “humiliation” as inferiors. The man who desires a woman as his sexual partner only wishes to subject her to an “inherently violent” act. It’s even worse if a man wants her to be his wife and the mother of his children, thereby seeking to impose on her the cruelest possible fate — a life of despicable servitude as a man’s personal chattel slave, a helpless captive “breeder” forced to devote her life to bearing and caring for a man’s offspring.
Such is the feminist view of men, of heterosexual relationships, of normal marriage and motherhood. If you are a woman who actually desires those things (romance, a wedding, a husband and children, a family home) then you are not a feminist. You may call yourself a “feminist,” but it’s impossible to reconcile a normal female life with the radical project of overthrowing the patriarchy. And if you’re a woman committed to overthrowing patriarchy (i.e., reducing men to the status of passive drones in a sexless androgynous regime of “equality” where men are only acceptable if they display a masochistic appetite for the companionship of women who despise them), it’s impossible to imagine how you could ever experience sexual desire toward whatever pathetic males might choose this fate to which feminism would condemn them.
Thus we return to Carmen Rios, the “raging lesbian feminist” who is not afraid to joke that Women’s Studies classes function as “Lesbo Recruitment 101” seminars for many young women. Her comrades at Autostraddle condemned me for writing a “hit piece” about Ms. Rios, when all I had done was to discuss her career and opinions as a typical example of feminist ideology in operation.
Remember: Autostraddle is a site specifically targeted to a readership of lesbians, so that they clearly don’t believe it is a bad thing for Carmen Rios to be gay. Nor, we presume, do Autostraddle’s contributors consider it a bad thing to be a feminist. What perturbed them, however, was when I noted that Ms. Rios and her employers at the Feminist Majority Foundation are enthusiastic in advocating “sexuality education” aimed at kids “as early as age 10” because “sexuality and gender identity begin emerging between the ages of 10 and 14,” and they think it is important to reach kids while they are “still malleable.”
(Soundtrack cue: Elvis Presley, “Suspicious Minds.”)
“Many of us had sex with boys in our teens and didn’t bang a lady ’til our mid-to-late-twenties, and felt like rookies all over again. So we can understand how you might feel a little better knowing a little something before you take the plunge.
“Female sexuality, let alone queer sexuality, is usually ignored by sex ed programs. Furthermore, whereas many heteros learn about sex together in their early teens, many lesbians don’t start that early and/or aren’t peer socialized into the sexual universe like straights are, not to mention that our entire media culture is structured around and obsessed with heterosexual sex.”
— from Autostraddle.com, Nov. 13, 2011
Let us place this in context, shall we? There is abundant evidence that feminists consider heterosexuality oppressive to women. We are therefore not surprised to learn that lesbian Women’s Studies professors Karin Martin and Emily Kazyak are concerned that Disney cartoons are pressuring girls to become heterosexual. The senior author of that study, Professor Martin, is similarly concerned that mothers are also imposing heteronormativity on girls.
This is all consistent with the doctrines of pioneering lesbian feminist theorists (e.g., Charlotte Bunch and Adrienne Rich) who condemned the idea of heterosexuality as an “innate” or “natural” expression of female sexuality. Equality for women was only possible if they could be liberated from the constraints of what Rich called “compulsory heterosexuality.” What scientists had claimed were “natural” sexual instincts, these eminent feminist writers explained, were actually the product of social pressures and cultural beliefs imposed on women by the system of male supremacy. Daphne Patai has described how feminism theorizes this process:
Dee Graham . . . claims to be able to explain the very existence of heterosexuality in women by invoking what she calls the “Societal Stockholm Syndrome.” In a 1994 book entitled Loving to Survive, Graham expounds her theory in minute detail. As in the famous Stockholm bank-hostage episode in 1973, in which four hostages bonded with their captors anlubd came to see the police as their common enemy, women — so the argument goes — are eternally held hostage to men. . . . The point of all male behavior is domination . . . Heterosexual behavior thus becomes a “survival strategy” for women, as do “feminine” characteristics, which result from women’s need to ingratiate themselves with their “captors.” . . .
Graham’s thesis makes it impossible to distinguish in a meaningful way between situations of genuine abuse and the ordinary life of heterosexual women. And that is precisely the point. Men are women’s captors. Women are men’s hostages. Heterosexuality is the form of their subjugation.
Rather than letting girls grow up to be heterosexual hostages, then, it makes sense that feminists would seek to rescue them from a future as “dick-sockets” in the captivity of male domination. The overthrow of patriarchy requires the abolition of heterosexuality, and achieving this revolutionary feminist objective cannot rely entirely on lonely housewives watching cable-TV lesbian shows or Texas mothers being seduced by lesbian elementary school teachers. No, the advancement of a radical feminist agenda of equality and liberation requires an active campaign to eradicate the heteronormative oppression of girls while their emerging sexual identity is “still malleable.”
That the logic of feminist theory is obvious in this regard, however, does not mean either (a) that all women who call themselves “feminists” have followed the premises of their syllogism to a logical conclusion, or (b) that all women who understand the esoteric doctrine of feminism are willing to discuss it with the larger public outside the inner circle of their cult. It follows from this — i.e., the necessary disconnect between feminism’s esoteric doctrine and feminism’s exoteric discourse — that there are many women who earnestly support what they believe to be “feminism” without having any knowledge of the etiology and teleology of the movement’s fundamental ideology. Therefore, let us cite a few comments from the Autostraddle reaction to my blog post:
- What can I say about the state of the world, but: haters gonna hate. Trolls gonna troll. Carmen’s gonna shine because she’s a bright star. And thanks for the “lesbian recruitment”, Autostraddle, without it I’d probably be still in a closet or worse by now. Good stuff, that.
- Shit, they’re on to us. Everyone knows the first rule of Raging Lesbian Feminist Club is not to talk about Raging Lesbian Feminist Club.
- I should have stopped at reading the excerpts here. Reading the actual article and the actual commentaries . . . was enraging. Assholes like that are why the world collectively can’t have nice things.
- Hate filled tripe like this just reinforces the need to teach my high school students to be open minded and to live-and-let-live.
- Is there a training program for those of us wanting to learn to properly recruit the masses of straight women?
- I think what saddens me the most, is that I know if the author was offered up explanations, like that feminism does not equal misandry, he would refuse to change his view points. I’m glad that this community exists to counter backwards thinking such as that.
You see? No matter how many influential feminists any critic may cite to demonstrate the anti-male/anti-heterosexual core doctrines of feminist ideology, there are still idiots (useful or otherwise) who insist that “feminism does not equal misandry.” Readers of a popular lesbian blog assert that a critical exegesis of the feminist belief system is “backwards thinking,” despite my careful examination of this doctrine as expressed by leading feminist advocates during the past five decades.
Astonishingly, these idiots claim they are “open minded . . . live-and-let-live,” when Autostraddle refused even to link my post — while I had linked their site multiple times — but instead used a “Do Not Link” site and offered a PDF version of my post. And why? Because it seems they did not want their readers to follow the links and examine the sources I had cited, as they evidently prefer to have their own lesbian readership remain ignorant of feminist theory.
“Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself. … [Truth] is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.”
— Thomas Jefferson, “Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom,” 1786
No honest man or woman need fear that lies can triumph over Truth, where the weapons of “free argument and debate” are available, where skilled hands are willing to wield those weapons, courageously fighting error wherever the antagonist may be found.
If I did not shrink from defending truth when sued for $1 million by convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin, does anyone now suppose I intend to retreat from a conflict with Women’s Studies professors or the lesbian blog known as “Cosmo for Queers”?
Various of the commenters at Autostraddle suggested that Carmen Rios’ joke about “Lesbo Recruitment 101” had no basis in truth, and they are free to offer whatever arguments they choose to support that interpretation. But they have not actually made any such argument, instead responding with sarcasm and insults, attributing my own arguments to hateful bigoted ignorance.
Autostraddle will not link me, but I will cheerfully link Autostraddle, for I would not want anyone to be ignorant or fearful.
- Oct. 21, 2012: NSFW Lesbosexy Sunday is Having An Epic International Fisting Day Party
- Oct. 22, 2013: 5 Fisting Tips For A Happy (Belated) International Fisting Day!
Perhaps some women do not desire to have their entire hand inside another woman’s vagina, or vice-versa, but “haters gonna hate,” eh? (If you’re not a hater, however, Autostraddle recommends you use lots of lubricant.) Meanwhile . . .
- Nov. 13, 2011: How to Have Lesbian Sex For the First Time: NSFW Sunday Special
- Feb. 1, 2013: You Need Help: Real Talk About Your First Strap-On
Again, some women have no interest in lesbian sex (with or without strap-ons), but “haters gonna hate.” On the other hand, Autostraddle is there to provide you helpful advice. Their regular Sex Toy columnist is particularly loyal to her Spareparts™ brand harness, and recommends the 8.5-inch long, 2-inch thick Outlaw™ dildo.
Far be it from me to critique the methodology of experts in these matters, and I’m sure the Autostraddle crew is proud to have added to their team of expert contributors the “raging lesbian feminist” Carmen Rios, communications coordinator for the Feminist Majority Foundation.
- July 14: Radical Feminism and the Long Shadow of the ‘Lavender Menace’
- July 26: Feminists Worry That Disney Movies Are Making Girls Heterosexual
- July 28: Feminists Against ‘The Unnatural, Yet Universal Roles Patriarchy Has Assigned’
- Aug. 2: How to Become a Lesbian, Step One: Watch Cable TV While Depressed
- Aug. 3: #DearFeministMen Illustrates a Fundamental Problem
- Aug. 6: Hey, Moms: Feminists Think They Know What’s Wrong With Your Children
- Aug. 10: ‘Hi, We’re Lesbian Feminists and We’re Here to Talk to Your Daughter About Sex’