The Other McCain

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

Yes, ‘Gender’ Is About Sex

Posted on | April 14, 2016 | 28 Comments


Melissa Fabello will once again be the subject of my attention in a long post I’ve been writing this week, but her romantic holiday in Paris is something she has not bothered to explain at length, whereas we already have extensive testimony as to her “queer feminist” credentials.

“Right now, today, as of writing this, I identify as queer. But I didn’t always. And no, I’m not referring to that awkward, uncomfortable time in my life where I knew that something felt ‘off,’ but I couldn’t quite place it, and so I paraded around in the charade of ‘straight.’ I mean that a few years ago, I identified as homoflexible. And before that, a lesbian. And even before that, bisexual.”
Melissa Fabello

As I say, there is a long unfinished draft that I mean to get finished at some point, but right now I don’t have time. My daughter-in-law will soon bring my two young grandsons for me to supervise and care for, and my patriarchal duty will necessarily intrude on my writing schedule. Therefore, I will quickly suggest what the apparent heterosexual resolution of Ms. Fabello’s lifelong adventures in queerness may mean.

When I began my in-depth exploration of feminist gender theory — the social construction of the gender binary within the heterosexual matrix — it was immediately apparent to me that (a) Professor Judith Butler’s argument assumed as its tacit premise feminism’s opposition to heterosexuality, per se; and that many adherents of so-called Third Wave feminism had either (b) failed to recognize this premise, or else (c) were being less than honest about what “gender theory” actually implies and where its application as policy is likely to lead.

Professor Butler shrewdly couches her arguments in opaque jargon and asks provocative questions to which the answers are never clearly stated, but which the intelligent and careful researcher can easily intuit. How many times, for example, can an author cite radical lesbian Monique Wittig without being accused of advocating lesbianism?

“A materialist feminist approach to women’s oppression destroys the idea that women are a ‘natural group’ . . .
“Lesbian is the only concept I know of which is beyond the categories of sex (woman and man). . . . For what makes a woman is a specific social relation to a man, a relation that we have previously called servitude . . . a relation which lesbians escape by refusing to become or to stay heterosexual. . . . [O]ur survival demands that we contribute all our strength to the destruction of the class of women within which men appropriate women. This can be accomplished only by the destruction of heterosexuality as a social system which is based on the oppression of women by men and which produces the doctrine of the difference between the sexes to justify this oppression.”

Monique Wittig, “One Is Not Born a Woman,” 1981

Let anyone consult Professor Butler’s 1990 book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity and see how often she cites Wittig. Furthermore, the reader should contemplate what “the Subversion of Identity” means in the context of lesbian feminism. Many radical feminists have been critical of Professor Butler’s work, but is it not possible that the subtlety of her feminist attack on “identity” has eluded their comprehension? Any reader familiar with the sources cited by Professor Butler — not only Wittig, but also Adrienne Rich, Gayle Rubin, Esther Newton, Teresa de Lauretis, Eve Sedwick, Diana Fuss, et al. — recognizes that she takes for granted all feminist arguments made against heterosexuality. It was simply unnecessary, in 1990, for Professor Butler to cite such outspoken lesbian-feminist enemies of heterosexuality as Charlotte Bunch, Jill Johnston, Mary Daly, Marilyn Frye and Joyce Trebilcot. By the time Gender Trouble was published, there were enough such radicals among the tenured faculty of Women’s Studies that once Professor Butler invoked “gender hierarchy and compulsory heterosexuality” (on the second page of her 1990 preface), all of her academic readers could be expected to nod in recognition: “Yes, we see exactly where she’s coming from here.”

For some reason, however, I keep encountering young feminists (and also young opponents of feminism) who do not understand this. Feminist theory did not begin with Judith Butler, nor is the ostentatious weirdness of a self-described “queer” feminist like Melissa Fabello anything new.

As I have pointed out at length in my book Sex Trouble, and in the continuing series of writing here that I intend to incorporate into the revised and expanded second edition, the “Lavender Menace” of lesbian feminism erupted publicly less than two years after the emergence of the Women’s Liberation movement in 1968. That first surge of gaudy radicalism faded from public consciousness after the mid-1970s (as Professor Alice Echols explains in her 1989 history Daring To Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America 1967-1975), so that by the mid-1980s “feminism” was widely viewed as the idea of smart, stylish women trying to “have it all,” combining career, marriage and motherhood. This idea was popularized by Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown in her 1982 bestseller Having It All: Love, Success, Sex, Money … Even if You’re Starting With Nothing. What was overlooked, generally, was that Brown herself never had children, and she was married to a wealthy film producer, David Brown, a partner of Richard Zanuck. For a millionaire’s wife to be considered a feminist expert on “having it all” is highly ironic to those familiar with modern feminism’s Marxist origins.

Meanwhile, however, radical feminists were burrowing into academia, publishing in journals like Hypatia, and their weird ideas about “gender” and “sexuality” didn’t attract widespread notice until, in 1995, the Beijing Conference put lesbianism front and center. (See Ara Wilson’s contemporaneous article in the feminist journal Signs, written from a pro-lesbian perspective.) Despite the headlines and controversy surrounding Beijing, it seems that few conservative critics understood the full significance and probable consequences of this. Academic feminism was increasingly dominated by professors whose hostility toward heterosexuality was a matter of both theory and practice.

By the 1990s, therefore, much of what was being taught in universities about men, women and sex was being taught from a radical perspective that condemned heterosexuality as “the ideology of male supremacy,” to quote one of Charlotte Bunch’s comrades. Professor Daphne Patai was one of the few people in academia who saw the danger in this and tried to call attention it. First, in Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies (co-authored with Professor Noretta Koertge), Professor Patai examined the problem of what was being taught in Women’s Studies classes. Next, in an excellent 1998 book I have often recommended, Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism, Professor Patai took direct aim at anti-male hatemongers including University of Cincinnati Professor Dee Graham. It was Professor Graham’s 1994 book Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men’s Violence and Women’s Lives which inspired the infamous radical feminist blogger Witchwind to proclaim “PIV is always rape, OK?” and “No woman is heterosexual.” These were the declarations that in turn inspired my research into feminist theory, and here we are more than two years later.

Do not doubt that I have greatly enjoyed mocking Melissa Fabello’s style of “queer feminism.” However, beyond my mirthful pleasure, we must confront a serious problem — Feminism Is Queer, to cite the title of a Women’s Studies textbook by Professor Mimi Marinucci. That is to say, both Radical Wind’s anti-male radicalism and Ms. Fabello’s bizarre confusion — changing her identity from bisexual to lesbian to “homoflexible” and now to “queer” — are endorsed and advocated by Women’s Studies programs. Academic feminism is now in favor of every form of sexual behavior except normal sexual behavior.

Whatever type of deviant sexuality a woman may choose is OK with the professors, just so long as she avoids those patterns of behavior that might lead to (a) finding herself a husband and (b) having babies.

“Sex is compulsory in marriage. . . . It is clear that the compulsory nature of sex in marriage operates to the advantage of the male. . . . The enslavement of women in marriage is all the more cruel and inhumane by virtue of the fact that it appears to exist with the consent of the enslaved group.”
Sheila Cronan, 1970

“The first condition for escaping from forced motherhood and sexual slavery is escape from the patriarchal institution of marriage.”
Alison M. Jaggar, 1988

Well, my grandsons just arrived, so I’ll have to quit this now, but I do wish Ms. Fabello would stop complaining about “harassment” long enough to write something honest about Third Wave feminism. Selah.




28 Responses to “Yes, ‘Gender’ Is About Sex”

  1. Quartermaster
    April 14th, 2016 @ 5:50 pm

    “…but I do wish Ms. Fabello would stop complaining about “harassment” long enough to write something honest about Third Wave feminism.”

    C’mon, you know demons lie. It’s all they can do, and she is clearly sold out to them.

  2. robertstacymccain
    April 14th, 2016 @ 6:07 pm

    I keep saying feminism is a cult, because it is as if they cannot step outside this bizarre politicized worldview and examine it objectively.

    Look, I’m an ex-Democrat. It took me about three years to go from having a Clinton-Gore bumper sticker on my car in 1992 to becoming an avowed enemy of the Democrat Party. This was only possible because I began to examine politics, culture and economics in an objective light, critical of my own previous choices. One notices very few feminists (among them Tammy Bruce) who ever develop that kind of self-awareness about the glaring contradictions of their own ideology.

    WHY? The lack of introspection — the inability to let go of the narcissistic emotional joy of rationalized man-hating — is what troubles me so much about these young feminists.

  3. Greg
    April 14th, 2016 @ 6:40 pm

    “You’re too pretty to be a lesbian” said no one to Melissa Fabello, ever.

  4. concern00
    April 14th, 2016 @ 6:42 pm

    So now she is ogling a thirteen year old student, obviously hoping to provide some first hand lessons on being a lesbian.

  5. Steve Skubinna
    April 14th, 2016 @ 6:53 pm

    “There’s always someone to talk to about queer and gender theory.”

    Somebody’s got her priorities in order. I mean, who hasn’t got up at three in the morning and mused “Damn, wish somebody was around to discuss queer and gender theory?” Hey, I for one get tired of being stared at by my dog.

    My dog, see, she’s female but identifies as female. She presents as female, however. Truth be told however, some of the time she’s a real bitch. Because she never talks about queer and gender theory. And when I bring it up, all I get is that look.

    You know the one.

  6. Steve Skubinna
    April 14th, 2016 @ 6:54 pm

    Now that I know, I’d say it to her in a nanosecond given the opportunity.

    Because I’m one of those guys who just has to press the button.

  7. DeadMessenger
    April 14th, 2016 @ 7:39 pm

    She sure does wear a lot of makeup, for an alleged feminist. Not “happy in her own skin”, I wonder?

  8. DeadMessenger
    April 14th, 2016 @ 7:40 pm

    I’d like to be there to watch her chimp out, just for the entertainment value.

  9. robertstacymccain
    April 14th, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

    “Damn, wish somebody was around to discuss queer and gender theory?”

    It’s no fun staring into the abyss alone.

  10. Fail Burton
    April 14th, 2016 @ 9:01 pm

    The history of radical lesbianism is the history of the coming together of women who had deep-seated anxieties about and even paranoia of the idea of having sex with men. It’s fair to say these women have a phobia and hatred of men in general. For some reason this led many of them to also embrace incest and some even sex with children. Since this was a Euro-centric movement, being a white man also became part of the bogey man scenario.

    Obviously, one can’t run around just saying that, so you need to cast about for some plausible excuse to rationalize such trauma and deviancy. For that you need some pseudo-science mumbo-jumbo, some fake history and to turn not only men but heterosexuality itself into an oppressive ideology, like a kind of KKK or Jim Crow county.

    I don’t know what goes on in the minds of people who are insane but it’s obvious the early writers thought long, hard and obsessively about turning their paranoia into a comprehensive theory which would explain all. The early consensus was that heterosexuality wasn’t even real and could be made unreal by muttering “performative” incantations that would essentially serve the same goal as unnaming a ship or a gender, thus altering that entity’s life trajectory, and that of culture itself. The idea renaming a cat will allow that cat to ignore its own sex organs is too stupid to contemplate unless your name is Judith Butler. But she found it a fertile field for her insane prose and was magically able to forget her breasts are not meant to attract other lesbians but to nurse children.

    As the decades have gone by every woman with a stick up their ass about men has found a friendly crowd of other mentally ill woman to listen to their horror stories which scapegoat men like they’re Hansel and Gretel who just came back from the woods, which is what Tumblrinas are. Thanks to Xoloft and Xanax they maintain just enough sanity to hold a job but not quite enough ever be healthy, happy human beings. All the vacations in Paris in the world won’t put this broken shell of a woman back together again.

  11. Fail Burton
    April 14th, 2016 @ 9:29 pm

    Her face is caked with it. It may have affected her brain cells.

  12. Finrod Felagund
    April 14th, 2016 @ 10:35 pm

    Personally, I’m idiotphobic and damn proud of it. She’s a bloody idiot.

  13. RS
    April 14th, 2016 @ 11:10 pm

    I just find it amazing that someone could parley the sort of hatred,bitterness and vitriol into a “career” or sorts. Doesn’t it get wearisome after awhile? There is no joy in her life unless it comes from attempting to destroy other people. I cannot imagine an evening among her circle of “friends.” I have political beliefs. I also have and “off” switch. Give it a rest already, lady.

  14. CrustyB
    April 14th, 2016 @ 11:14 pm

    “Ever get the feeling that lesbian porn desperately wants to sell us lies about queer relationships?” OK, I’ll give her that one. Porn tries to sell us that dykes are all Jenna Jameson having hot sex to 80s synth music, whereas reality is two Ernest Borgnine lookalikes in straight-cut bluejeans, plaid shirts and severe, sexless Rachel Maddow haircuts exploring pockets of fat fold dirt.

  15. Fail Burton
    April 15th, 2016 @ 3:39 am

    Have you ever seen a photo of Maddow’s squeeze? There’s just some weird issues with these women. It’s like her grandma or something.

  16. Fail Burton
    April 15th, 2016 @ 7:04 am

    It’s weird how much she looks like that guy.

  17. CrustyB
    April 15th, 2016 @ 7:36 am

    Sarah Paulson was dating Cherry Jones who is 20 years her senior. Now she’s dating Holland Taylor who’s about 30 years older than her. Talk about sick granny grabbers.

  18. gunga
    April 15th, 2016 @ 8:14 am

    She “HATES being told she’s “too pretty to be a lesbian.” Humblebrag much? Of course that could be translated as: “Surely there is a guy somewhere who might find you attractive,” so… Why do so many “feminists” go the 1970’s vintage “Naughty librarian” porn look? Are contact lenses patriarchic?

    Also, I just invented a new food group: Sausage, egg and cheese on an everything bagel smothered with sausage gravy. I think I’ll name it “gunga’s dinner.”

  19. gunga
    April 15th, 2016 @ 8:16 am

    The sound of one hand clapping is SO annoying!

  20. Greg
    April 15th, 2016 @ 9:15 am

    Great. How am I supposed to unsee that?

  21. Sort-Of-Mad Max
    April 15th, 2016 @ 10:41 am

    Why is ME-lissa going to Paris with a guy?

    Because Imran has the necessary dollars to take her sad Pan-Caked ass there.

    Her soulful squeeze Sheeran down at the Starbucks counter, not so much.


    Sometimes, the glib, easy answer is the correct answer!

  22. JohnnyL53
    April 15th, 2016 @ 1:46 pm

    Are we even sure that she is even a biological female? With a chin like that I can hardly believe she gets many of those “but you are too pretty to be a lesbian” comments.

  23. Don’t Do It, Donald… | Regular Right Guy
    April 15th, 2016 @ 3:06 pm

    […] Yes, ‘Gender’ Is About Sex […]

  24. Fail Burton
    April 15th, 2016 @ 6:37 pm

    If he shaved, wore a wig and put on some of that pancake batter, he could be her twin. Maybe she actually is a lesbian. Or maybe he’s gay.

  25. Jason Lee
    April 15th, 2016 @ 7:49 pm

    She’s grumble bragging.

  26. Quartermaster
    April 16th, 2016 @ 9:32 am

    You mean the look that says, “You’re freakin’ insane! Now where’s that bacon you promised me earlier?”

  27. robertstacymccain
    April 16th, 2016 @ 2:40 pm

    “Humblebrag much?”

    Am I the only one who is instinctively suspicious of how feminists constantly talk about sex?

    That’s why I point out that talking about “gender” is simply a way for feminists to talk about sex. By attacking male/female distinctions, feminists are actually trying to redefine the social context within which sexual relationships occur. OK, who is most interested such a project? People whose sexual preferences are … uh, unusual. People who can’t get sex the way they want it with the partners they most desire. In a word, abnormal people.

    OK, so how to conceal their actual motives? Pretend that their sex lives are just fine, thank you very much, and pretend that they are seeking to destroy existing sexual norms because these norms are “oppressive.”

    It’s a three-card monte hustle, and such transparent scams don’t fool me for a minute.

  28. Daniel Freeman
    April 17th, 2016 @ 2:25 am

    Eh, not really. I forget the term for it, but there’s a thing where people are attracted to people who look like them. And also IIRC she’s Italian, and the Romans raped Egypt, so African connection.