The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

More Feminist Fear and Loathing

Posted on | January 19, 2016 | 101 Comments

Do you remember @RebeccaWatson? In case you’ve forgotten, she was the total smokin’ hotness of atheist chickdom whose encounter with a nerd in an elevator became a feminist cause célèbre in 2011: “Stop sexualizing me!”

I’d forgotten all about her until today, while mining for insanity on Feminist Tumblr, I saw a quote (tagged #rape culture”) that began, “Men who want to flirt with women have to realize: Women live in a state of continual vigilance about sexual safety.” And when I clicked on the source, I discovered that this was a commentary (by Lindsay Beyerstein) about Watson’s 2011 “ElevatorGate” encounter. The claim that women — all women — “live in a state of continual vigilance about sexual safety” is a typical expression of the feminist paranoia I’ve called “Fear and Loathing of the Penis.” Men are required to compensate for this irrational attitude, Ms. Beyerstein insisted:

If a female stranger is wary around you, it is not because she suspects you are a rapist, or that all men are rapists. It’s because a general level of circumspection is what vigilance requires. Don’t take it personally. . . .
Vigilance isn’t just a game or an arbitrary set of social conventions. It’s imperfect insurance against being raped with impunity. . . .
So, guys, if you want to flirt with a woman, your job is put her at ease, not to ratchet up her anxiety level.

Ms. Beyerstein, and feminists generally, lack empathy. A guy with harmless intentions is aware of his own innocence. It is insulting to accuse an innocent man of bad motives when he has done nothing wrong, and when there is no reason to suspect that he would do something wrong, other than the fact that he is male. Feminists are constantly lecturing about pervasive male evil in this insulting way, as in the case of Liat Kaplan ranting about “street harassment” in New York City:

There’s no point to a guy yelling, “Hey sexy baby” at me out of the passenger window of a car as it speeds past. Even if I was into creepy misogynists and wanted to give him my number, I couldn’t. The car didn’t even slow down. But that’s okay, because he wasn’t actually hitting on me. The point wasn’t to proposition me or chat me up. The only point was to remind me, and all women, that our bodies are his to stare at, assess, comment on, even touch. “Hey sexy baby” is the first part of a sentence that finishes, “this is your daily message from the patriarchy, reminding you that your body is public property”. This so-called “minor” sexual harassment is the tax you pay for daring to exist as a woman in public. . . .

(Guys yelling rude things out of car windows are “the patriarchy.”)

Even the most “minor” street harassment is a tile in your mental mosaic of fear and distrust and vulnerability. Piece by piece, it builds into a picture of some larger violence always lingering on the edge of your thoughts. I’m by no means comparing a guy yelling, “hey, sexy baby” to sexual assault, but the culture that makes this man feel entitled to comment on your body, on your existing in public as a woman, is the same one that makes men feel entitled to sex, and makes some feel entitled to take it by force. “Hey baby” is a symptom of the disease of rape culture.

Let me give you a hint, Ms. Kaplan: Guys who yell rude things out of car windows don’t read feminist blogs. You are directing your lecture toward the wrong audience, don’t you see? But certainly you must realize that guys in New York City yelling out of car windows are not “the patriarchy” — these are lower-class men, not beneficiaries of “privilege.” And what are the chances your lecture about “the disease of rape culture” is going to be read by any actual rapists? Very close to zero, I’d guess.

However, there are no feminists crazier than Canadian feminists, and Canada’s leading feminist is Meghan Murphy:

Female students are under constant threat on college campuses — afraid to walk home at night, raped at parties, after the bar, and in their dorms.

Fear! Fear! Fear! Ms. Murphy calls for a “feminist revolution . . . a cultural shift that addresses male entitlement, porn culture, and the objectifying male gaze; an end to masculinity and, more broadly, gendered socialization that says men are actors whereas women are passive recipients of men’s ‘action’ — that is, the idea that men are to ‘get’ sex from women, which positions coercion as a normal and expected part of heterosexual relations.” After more than four decades of radical feminism, this “revolution” hasn’t materialized, however, and Ms. Murphy is not optimistic:

In the meantime, women live in fear. . . .
And who is it we fear? Is it other women? . . . Is it a genderless, faceless, bodiless being? No. It is a male. A male with a penis that he may or may not use as a weapon.

She proposes a curfew for men. Yes, Canadian men, your nation’s leading feminist wants you kept off the streets at night.

David Thompson comments:

Why, it almost sounds like a gratuitous power fantasy, the product of an unwell mind. . . .
Clearly, Ms Murphy is determined to upend idle stereotypes of feminists as batty misandrists unmoored from reality.

Feminism is totalitarian. On Tumblr, a feminist argues that “women’s studies classes should be sex-segregated” to provide “women an invaluable opportunity to speak freely about their oppression . . . With men in the room, no healing can take place.” This prompted others to say that men talk too much in class, an experience that one woman said made her want “to tell them to shut the f–k up, and then throw myself in the sun.” Feminists cannot stand to hear men talk, you see.