Posted on | January 9, 2016 | 197 Comments
Kylo Ren is the name of the villain in the latest Star Wars movie. You may wonder, “What does that have to do with feminism?” Honestly, I don’t know, but Lis is a feminist Tumblr blogger:
I’m a 20 year old dfab white demigirl living in the United States with my parents. Currently, I’m in college and am looking for a job. I enjoy a lot of things and have a lot of friends, and talk a lot about video games and am very opinionated. I’m bisexual, and living in a very hostile environment for a person such as myself so I use tumblr as an outlet for various frustrations I feel because of that.
Got that? OK, so now you may be ready for this from Lis:
It is perhaps necessary, for readers not familiar with Third Wave feminist jargon, for me to explain that “dfab” means designated female at birth — biologically, she’s female — and “demigirl” is “a gender identity describing someone who partially, but not wholly, identifies as” female. Whenever I encounter bizarre jargon terms like this (which are very common in Feminist Tumblr) my first impulse is alway to wonder, “Has she consulted an endocrinologist?”
This is not merely sarcasm. Because I intend to include a chapter on Feminist Tumblr in the second edition of Sex Trouble, I’ve plowed through enough of these blog profiles that various patterns and clusters of symptoms have become apparent to me. “Feminist Tumblr Syndrome” typically involves a combination of mental illness and abnormal sexuality. There may be feminists who are both (a) sane and (b) heterosexual, but none of those women are running Tumblr blogs.
These women are a non-random set — there is a pattern, as I say — and in many cases, the Feminist Tumblr blogger will describe herself in ways that seem symptomatic of endocrine disorders. I find myself wondering, “Has your doctor checked your thyroid function? Do you have any problems with your metabolism? What about your hormone levels? Is there some kind of underlying gynecological problem? An undetected cyst somewhere? Could you maybe ask the doctor to run an MRI?”
It is difficult to believe that an entirely healthy 20-year-old would be spending all her time on Tumblr, describing herself as a bisexual “dfab white demigirl,” claiming she is the victim of a “hostile environment” and ranting about Star Wars characters.
Crazy is as crazy does, I guess, and the fact that I consider these weirdos on Feminist Tumblr to be a subject for journalistic research may not say much for my own mental health. Yet if “the personal is political,” as Carol Hanisch says, we cannot understand feminism without examining the demography of the movement’s rank-and-file, and in the 21st century, one way to do this is by examining the movement’s online presence in free-for-all venues like Tumblr. And let me point out something you may not have noticed: Lis’s denunciation of Kylo Ren (which got nearly 12,000 notes on Tumblr) labeled him a “cishet white male.”
OK, what is “cishet”? This jargon term combines the prefix cis– (which is the opposite of trans-) and “het” which is short for heterosexual, so that “cishet” just means a man who is sexually and biologically normal, and Feminist Tumblr demonizes “cishet white males” as the Worst Thing Any Human Could Possibly Be.
Young feminists evidently believe it is wrong to be male, wrong to be white, and wrong to be heterosexual. The rhetoric of the feminist movement, day in and day out, looks very much like hate propaganda against anyone who fits the category of “cishet white males,” and yet nobody ever seems to question this type of categorical hatred.
To understand this hatred, perhaps it might help to take a look at the feminist “humor” of The White Dad Magazine.
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) January 9, 2016
Feminism seeks to eliminate “male privilege” by preventing men from having any opportunity for success. https://t.co/1CAOkDEPea
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) December 31, 2015
"Feminists are dishonest, selfish and cruel. … Feminism is irrational, because hate is always irrational." https://t.co/kbV6lbr4Bj
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) December 26, 2015
Once we understand feminism as organized irrationality — the political mobilization of mentally ill women — we can recognize their rhetoric as symptoms and their ideology as a disease.