The Other McCain

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

Feminists Against Heterosexuality (@CarolineHeldman Edition)

Posted on | May 14, 2016 | 23 Comments

Stop objectifying her with your male gaze, misogynists!

Years ago, Professor Donald Douglas of American Power began a sort of blog feud with Occidental College Professor Caroline Heldman, and at the time I had no idea who she was. Back in the day (circa 2008-2012), I treated academic feminism as a joke, the way all conservatives did. Those were the years when I was up to my eyeballs in campaign politics, the Tea Party, etc., and it wasn’t until 2014 that I began seriously researching feminism. Among the weird concepts I encountered was object relations theory, a concept explored at length in a 2011 book Fixing Gender: Lesbian Mothers and the Oedipus Complex by Natasha Distiller. This brain-straining attempt to adapt Freudian psychoanalysis to feminist purposes has an ideological ancestry, as it were, traceable to Nancy Chodorow’s 1978 book The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychology and the Sociology of Gender. Not to delve into this too deeply, but because feminists believe everything is “socially constructed,” their attack on men, marriage and motherhood required them to develop a theoretical refutation both of (a) the idea that sexual behavior is a matter of biology, and (b) Freudian theory about the developmental origins of sexual behavior. Since the 1970s, basically, feminists have been blaming patriarchy for whatever they don’t like about men and sex (which is to say, everything about men and sex), and this is where Professor Heldman’s anti-male/anti-heterosexual propaganda becomes relevant.

 

How old was I the first time I rolled my eyes at the phrase “sex object”? No older than 19, I’m sure. “Everybody Loves a Pretty Girl” (Rule 5) is a fact of human nature, and all complaints about it are futile. Lecture all you want and write yet another book criticizing “objectification” as “sexist,” and still the fact will remain: Beauty exists, and men will always prefer beautiful women to ugly women. Nevertheless, despite the already vast library of feminist nonsense on this subject — Femininity and Domination by Sandra Lee Bartky (1990), The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf (1990), Beauty and Misogyny by Sheila Jeffreys (2005) — the same basic arguments continue to be endlessly recycled. To recite the main points of this dreary theme, there is no such thing as “beauty,” nor any reason (other than “sexism” and “misogyny”) why anyone would notice the difference between Kate Upton and Jaclyn Friedman.

Jaclyn Friedman, feminist (left); Kate Upton, supermodel (right).

According to feminists, it is wrong for men to admire Ms. Upton’s beauty, and also wrong to think maybe Ms. Friedman should lose a few pounds. Feminists insist there is no objective basis for preferring one to the other — no biological fact of human nature is involved — and anyone who disagrees is a victim of patriarchal brainwashing:

Overtly, the fashion-beauty complex seeks to glorify the female body and to provide opportunities for narcissistic indulgence. More important than this is its covert aim, which is to depreciate woman’s body and deal a blow to her narcissism. We are presented everywhere with images of perfect female beauty . . . These images remind us constantly that we fail to measure up. . . . The female body is revealed as a task, an object in need of transformation. . . . Every aspect of my bodily being requires either alteration or else heroic measures merely to conserve it.

So wrote Professor Sandra Lee Bartky in 1990, and this claim — women are victims of a sinister “fashion-beauty complex” — is one that feminists never get tired of repeating, as if repeating it could make it true.

Yet even if it were true, and if by some magical power (an edict from the White House or the United Nations) all the advertisements for fashion and beauty were abolished, (a) men would still prefer good-looking women, (b) women would still want to enhance their beauty, and (c) feminists would still be bitching about it. So here is a 13-minute video of Professor Heldman lecturing about “self-objectification”:

She made this argument in a 2008 Ms. magazine article:

A steady diet of exploitative, sexually provocative depictions of women feeds a poisonous trend in women’s and girl’s perceptions of their bodies, one that has recently been recognized by social scientists as self-objectification — viewing one’s body as a sex object to be consumed by the male gaze. . . .
What would disappear from our lives if we stopped seeing ourselves as objects? Painful high heels? Body hatred? Constant dieting? Liposuction? It’s hard to know. Perhaps the most striking outcome of self-objectification is the difficulty women have in imagining identities and sexualities truly our own. In solidarity, we can start on this path, however confusing and difficult it may be.

Oh, “social scientists” say this? Well, that settles it! You can prove damn near anything with “social science,” but never mind whether this is true. Correlation is not causation,  and the question Professor Heldman wants us to ignore is, “Why would a women want to be a ‘sex object’?” Also, we must ignore another question: “Why is ‘the male gaze’ thus specified?”

Like all such feminist arguments, Professor Heldman’s rhetoric is superficially a criticism of media “depictions of women,” a Trojan Horse within which she conceals an attack on male sexuality. This kind of “consciousness-raising” aims to incite women to resent men’s normal behavior, and to view male sexuality as inherently harmful to women.

Ladies, if you don’t like Cosmo and Vogue, don’t buy them. If a TV advertisement offends you, change the channel. Everybody is free to ignore any media “depictions of women” they don’t like, and I’ve been criticizing media since before Caroline Heldman was old enough to drive. But while Professor Heldman pretends she is merely criticizing media, what she is actually criticizing is heterosexuality, both in terms of mens’s desires (their admiration of beauty) and women’s response to male desire. Women should never seek to be beautiful in order to attract male admiration, Professor Heldman insinuates, and any male who admires a woman’s beauty is wrong for doing so. Every woman is equally deserving of admiration, feminists would have us believe, and anyone who says otherwise is a misogynist. However women themselves may judge each other, any scale of value applied to women is “sexist” if it in any way reflects male preferences. Whatever men want is always wrong, because men are bad — this is the unstated premise of Professor Heldman’s “objectification” discourse, as of feminist ideology generally:

This anti-beauty message has been a core component of feminist rhetoric since 1968, when the Women’s Liberation movement emerged from the New Left and staged its first public protest against the Miss America pageant. Beauty pageants “epitomize the roles we are all forced to play as women,” the protesters declared, proclaiming that “women in our society [are] forced daily to compete for male approval, enslaved by ludicrous ‘beauty’ standards we ourselves are conditioned to take seriously.”
Notice the words “forced,” “enslaved” and “conditioned,” used to imply that these “ludicrous ‘beauty’ standards” are imposed on women against their will. Are women “forced” to play these “roles”? Do women “compete for male approval” because they have been “conditioned” to do so?

A careful student of rhetoric perceives how feminists employ tendentious language to depict men as evil oppressors and women as their victims. Similarly, we see how Professor Heldman employs the appeal to authority fallacy (argumentum ad verecundiam) by invoking “social scientists” as having proven the harmful effects of “self-objectification.” Whether or not this “research” proves what Professor Heldman says it proves, at what point does the ordinary human concern with appearance and grooming become that awful thing, “self-objectification”? Could we all improve our lives by ceasing to care what we look like? Should my teenage sons stop working out in the gym? Shave their heads instead of paying $20 for a nice hairstyle? Sit on the sofa and stuff themselves with Cheetos? Wear ratty old clothes instead of Abercrombie and Fitch?

Well, I could continue this argument further, but the shrewd reader perceives the basic point: Professor Heldman’s arguments are popular (that YouTube video has gotten nearly 1.3 million views) because she is telling unhappy women what they want to hear. “You are not to blame for your unhappiness,” feminists always tell women. “Blame the media! Blame society! Blame capitalism! Blame patriarchy! Blame men!”

Rationalizations (scapegoating and sour grapes) are attempts to evade responsibility for our own failures, to justify our resentments, or to explain away our disappointments. This is all feminism really is, a gigantic Excuse Factory, mass-producing self-justifying rationalizations for unhappy women. As Peter Lloyd says, “feminism teaches women they’re perennial victims and deserve whatever they desire.”

No paranoid conspiracy theory can compete with feminism when it comes to attributing unlimited evil to the all-powerful Them. Everywhere she turns, a feminist imagines herself confronted with the oppressive power of the patriarchy, and it’s amazing that any of the young women Professor Heldman teaches at Occidental College (annual tuition $49,278) can withstand all the social injustice they suffer, living under the constant hostile surveillance of the male gaze. Professor Heldman is promoting an attitude of sexual paranoia“Fear and Loathing of the Penis” — which has become the core value of feminism in the 21st century. Feminists are against marriage, against motherhood, against capitalism, against Christianity, against men and thus, ultimately, against heterosexuality.

Could feminist theory ever succeed in changing men’s behavior? Is it possible that somewhere in the world, a lunatic pervert is now masturbating to depraved fantasies about . . . Jaclyn Friedman?

In a world gone mad, anything is possible, you sick freaks.

However, I see Ms. Friedman has only 10,700 followers on Twitter, while Kate Upton has 2.2 million, so I guess we know which of these two women is the greater victim of “objectification,” right?

 

Comments

  • Finrod Felagund

    And if you needed any more proof that Kate Upton is awesome:

    “I was at a photo shoot and I was wearing a cross necklace that my mom bought me, and somebody made a joke like, ‘Why are you wearing a cross? Like you would be religious,'” the model recounted.

    “And then they took it away,” Upton added. “I was really affected by that.”

    Born in Michigan and raised in Florida, Upton attended Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy and is the daughter of Shelly Upton, a former Texas tennis champion. Despite the sexualized persona promoted in some of her photo shoots, Upton maintains that she takes her faith seriously.

    In particular, having the cross necklace taken away from her left the model so upset that she felt compelled to get a permanent cross – one that could not be taken away – tattooed on the inside of her finger.

    “The whole thing made me realize that I do want [a cross] with me, at all times,” she told the magazine.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/kate-upton-mocked-for-wearing-cross-in-modeling-industry-gets-cross-tattoo-to-have-it-with-her-at-all-times-101872/

  • Fail Burton

    “Feminist” is a synonym for “stupid.” The curves of a woman are like an unconscious language to a man. That’s just nature, not a male gaze. How can you be an adult and not have figured that out, especially one who has pretended to specially analyze these things? Failure always defines itself, and that woman is a failure, selling snake oil while having no real talents of her own.

  • robertstacymccain

    Well, considering how richly God has blessed her, certainly Ms. Upton has cause for gratitude.

    Back in the day, sometimes a woman offended by my tremendous arrogance would say, “You just think you’re God’s gift to women, don’t you?”

    To which I would reply: “No, ma’am. Some guys think they’re God’s gift to women. I actually am.”

    Make ’em laugh. Whether you win or lose, always make ’em laugh. A laughing woman is beautiful.

  • calmly_observing

    “Could feminist theory ever succeed in changing men’s behavior?”

    Yes. And that’s a primary goal, but not the only one. Just 10 years ago would you have expected “men” to post pics of themselves on social media with placards and cute statements about what wimps they are in supporting some feminist tenet?

  • Adobe_Walls

    ”Jaclyn Friedman, feminist (left); Kate Upton, supermodel (right).”, certainly explains alot. As for Professor Heldman, I’d hit that.

  • DeadMessenger

    If objectification is so bad, mmkay, why doesn’t Professor Heldman take exception to the female gaze? That’s a thing, too.

  • DeadMessenger

    No, but in fairness, those dudes could’ve been permanently whacked in the head due to a childhood filled with Ritalin and mind control. Feminism is a cult.

  • DeadMessenger

    Considering that God once repented of ever having created mankind, I think we’re all richly blessed by Him just by being here. Life is our participation trophy.

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  • Grandson Of TheGrumpus

    About “laughing women” and beauty— you’re absolutely, unequivocally correct!

    This is true even of women who are what’s considered exceedingly plain of face & figure!

    My first crush was on a girl who others saw as somewhat “homely”.

    She knew what others thought about her physical appearance, how could she not, w/the other children reminding her constantly of it? Even so, she treated these same children sweetly, showing these peers genuine kindness. In fact, she treated everyone sweetly, doing so thoughtlessly; just as one thoughtlessly breaths the air.

    She had this quality….
    It was years before I again saw a woman with the same quality, and that woman, I married!

    What that quality was, is when she entered a room that room actually brightened as a day when the sun comes out from behind clouds! It astounded many of the adults around us, they saw it too, and at times I’d hear them comment on it amongst themselves.

    When this girl smiled, it was like looking at a magnesium strip burning! I’ve rarely seen the like.

    This girl, through her example and her life, gave me a very special gift: that being that the beauty inside overcomes and consumes any beauty, (…or lack thereof…) outside!

    This good lady passed a few years later, in an aircraft accident, so whether she would have “outgrown” her ugly duckling?ness… as so many girls do… isn’t something I’ll ever know, but I know that whether or not she would have, it wouldn’t have mattered.

    I’ll always be thankful to Heavenly Father that I this fine Daughter of His at a time when my personality was forming its concepts on what actually constitutes Beauty.

  • Finrod Felagund

    If feminists accepted objective reality, they wouldn’t be feminists.

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  • Craig Loehle

    In ancient Egypt 4000 years ago, the women had lipstick (though not in a convenient tube), blush, and perfume (which I imagine came in real handy back then). I guess Vogue and TV ads made them do it.

  • RS

    I note only that Professor Heldman is dressed attractively in an outfit which is flattering to her figure. She appears to have curled her hair and is wearing makeup. Why? What purpose does that serve? Is she herself under the thumb of some nefarious “Other?”

  • Joseph Shmeau

    ” More important than this is its covert aim, which is to depreciate woman’s body and deal a blow to her narcissism.”

    Deal a blow to her narcissism? Professor Bartky says that like it’s a bad thing. We could all benefit from a few good blows to narcissism.

    Moving on to Professor Heldman, why doesn’t she change her name? Wouldn’t Heldwoman or Heldperson or just Held be less discriminatory?

  • Quartermaster

    I was at a flea market about 2 hours ago and there was a married woman, no better looking than Jaclyn Friedman pushing a stroller with a kid, her husband carrying another kid, and another, about 4, walking along with them. A woman doesn’t have to be a ravishing beauty to get a husband, but she can’t be a misandrist harpy and get one.

  • robertstacymccain

    Here is the point: Normal people accept normal standards, and do not let themselves be consumed by envious resentment if in some way they fail to measure up. Am I rich, tall, muscular, handsome — a movie star or a pro athlete or some other “icon” of male sex appeal? No. Do I sit around fuming in anger about this? No.

    If I am less fortunate than some others, I am far more fortunate than many, and am grateful to God for the many blessings in my life.

    This is the problem with feminism. It is organized resentment. In some way, the feminist feels disadvantaged by “society,” and thus becomes alienated and hostile, adopting an antisocial worldview and destructive agenda. The feminist seeks to destroy society in an act of vengeance for the wrongs she feels she has suffered.

  • Aleisha Capps

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  • Scuttlebuttin’

    Actually, yes. Desperate feebs doing anything a woman might ask in vain hopes of getting laid is not a new phenomenon. It’s just wasn’t so public.

  • Scuttlebuttin’

    Somalian Road Corporation|2.9.15 @ 4:10PM|#

    Ugly women without impossibly high standards find men all the time. Those who are expecting the proverbial Fonzie with a Ph.D. who’s making a solid six figures to come and sweep them off their feet after they’ve left their 20s behind and have serious personality defects to boot, not so much.

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