Sunday, December 10, 2017

Incendiary Feminist Rage

Nearly five decades of feminism and what do we get: Harvey Weinstein and Charley Rose and Louis CK and Bret Ratner and Kevin Spacey. Does this mean that we need more feminism or that feminism has failed?

Now, radical feminists are taking up arms to advance their war against predatory men. But, what if feminism is as much the problem as the solution? After all, most of the men who are accused of egregious sexual harassment and assaults are good progressive feminists. They are merely doing what Bill Clinton got away with doing. And they have been offered absolution by the Dowager Duchess of Chappaqua herself. As for the women who feared speaking out, they saw what the Dowager Duchess did to women who accused her husband of sexual predations. Until now, they chose to keep quiet.

Of course, today’s feminists, at least those who do not know how to think, believe that the Trump election has provoked the #MeToo movement. It might also be that disempowering one of America’s biggest frauds, HRC herself, has freed women from the threat her power represented. Ding, dong… the witch is dead. Or at least, the witch no longer wields political power. Ergo, women are now free to speak out against media and Hollywood men, Hillary’s army of predators. Think about it.

Today the New York Times showcases two interesting reactions to the current wave of denunciations and accusations. On one side, Lucinda Franks, a woman who began her journalistic career in the 1970s, at a time when second-wave feminism had just started washing up on the shores. Franks is cogent and intelligent, solid and sensible. 

On the other side, Michelle Goldberg, a raging contemporary feminist, a generation younger than Franks, who wants to direct her “incendiary rage” against Donald Trump… whom she, in an especially mindless rant, considers responsible for all of it. She is promoting a form of ritual sacrifice—of Trump the Antichrist—and is so blinded by her rage that she fails to see the prominent role that the Clintons and their ilk played in the current crisis.

Anyway, Franks considers the possibility that feminism and the sexual revolution might very well have contributed to the harassment problem:

Had the sexualization of American popular culture in the 1990s and 2000s taken the restraints off the male id, freeing men to pursue their most absurd fantasies — holding professional interviews at their homes, parading around naked under open bathrobes in front of job applicants? Had feminism, with its promotion of sexual freedom, combined with these cultural changes, paradoxically poured gas on the fires of these workplace assaults? Or had this stomach-turning type of aggression simply evaded the rumor mill but been happening all along?

As it happened Franks was the youngest woman ever to win the Pulitzer Prize. It did not produce any sexual harassment, but it did get her shunned in the newsroom:

Two years after I joined the news service, I won the Pulitzer Prize. I suffered for it mightily. That I was the first woman to win for national reporting — I had been brought to New York to do a five-part series on the violent antiwar Weatherman group — made it only worse. I could see it in their bowed heads: We’ve been striving for years to win that coveted prize and a 24-year-old walks away with it! The entire bureau of men refused to speak to me that day and the days after.

I was haunted by the creeping conviction that I didn’t deserve the prize — I should give it back. For at least the next 10 years, I was too ashamed to tell people I’d won.

But, isn’t that the point? To be more precise, when men who have been working their way up the prestige ladder in the newsroom for many years do not receive a reward but saw it given to a woman who had been there for twenty minutes, they might believe that sexual politics, as it was called back then, or affirmative action or diversity quotas have entered into the equation. And have rigged the system against them. This would provoke no small amount of hostility.

Shelby Steele has remarked, and the point has not been taken seriously enough, that when college admissions and corporate hiring practices are skewed to favor minority candidates—he could have added, women—then people will assume that any minority candidate or woman has gotten the job for reasons that have nothing to do with merit. If said candidate wins an award people will naturally assume that it is unearned… better yet, that it was unjustly taken from them. This produces resentment. Affirmative action and diversity quotas are a poisoned gift.

Sexual politics appears to rig the system, to rig it against men. Add to this another factor, one that applies to female candidates but not to racial minorities. Has is ever happened that a woman has advanced her career by offering sexual favors to a male superior? Perish the thought. 

When you stop laughing, consider this variation on Steele’s argument: when women are promoted beyond their accomplishments, men will assume that the game has been rigged. But they will also assume that the women are either fulfilling a diversity quota or have traded sexual favors for career advancement. Has this simple fact contributed to the wave of sexual harassment? It is worth thinking about it.

Of course, to be fair, no one ever accused Hillary Clinton of sleeping her way to the top. She did, however, marry her way to the top. How better to become a partner in the Rose Law Firm than to marry a leading political figure in the state? How better to become a United States Senator, the Secretary of State and a presidential candidate, than to be married to a former president. 

Hillary Clinton is the poster child for women who have not advanced because of their competence, but who married their way to the top. Again, this rigs the system. Feminists fall all over themselves saying that HRC was eminently qualified, but, as we have often noticed, they are simply exposing the fact that they are consumed by ideological zeal.

Speaking of ideological zeal, consider the rant that Michelle Goldberg wrote for the Times this morning.

Quite explicitly, she wants to weaponize the #MeToo movement and to turn it against Republicans. She is slightly discommoded by the fact that most of the men who are being accused travel in liberal and progressive circles, support feminism and fund Planned Parenthood.

But the revolution is smaller than it first appears. So far, it has been mostly confined to liberal-leaning sectors like entertainment, the media, academia, Silicon Valley and the Democratic Party. It hasn’t rocked the Republicans, corporate America or Wall Street — with some exceptions— because these realms are less responsive to feminist pressure.

She assumes that the sexual harassers in Republican precincts like Wall Street are simply doing better at hiding. For the record Goldberg does not recognize that Wall Street and Silicon Valley—the bastions of corporate America—are not filled with Republicans. They are Democratic Party redoubts. Wall Street bankers funded the Obama election campaigns very generously. As for Silicon Valley, at many of the biggers firms you will be fired if you are a Republican. But... don't let the facts get in the way of an ideologically driven narrative.

If you are consumed with burning hot ideological zeal, the first thing to go is the ability to think straight. As for Goldberg's insistence on the Revolution, how blind do you have to be to understand that the ideology of revolution, the kind that was going to overthrow the capitalist order and install a Worker’s Paradise, has been tried and has failed? It failed miserably. Those who suffered the horrors inflicted by Marxists revolutionaries will look at a Goldberg and think that she is no longer living in the real world.

Note this also. The feminist movement, in stark opposition to Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement, brought radical leftist ideology into the workplace. The civil rights movement sought integration. The feminist movement, in its radical incarnations, wanted to overthrow the patriarchy and to rebel against the capitalist order.

If this is the express intention of the feminist movement, an employee might think twice about hiring or trusting a female employee? Now, as we among many others have pointed out, the #MeToo wave will undoubtedly make it far more difficult for women to be hired or to be mentored by men.

Goldberg thinks that this is all going to be solved by giving women political power. She explains:

For doing something, she and all the others who have exposed the sexual degradation that mars so many professional lives deserve our gratitude and admiration. They’ve made things tangibly better for the women in their industries. But ultimately, the cultural currency of the #MeToo movement is not a substitute for political power. The incendiary rage unleashed by Trump’s election needs to be directed back at him. Otherwise, only those who already advocate women’s equality will be forced to grant it.

Of course, the poisoned gift of #MeToo will probably not make things better for women in business. They might suffer less sexual harassment, but that does not mean that women will be respected. They might just be avoided, as though they are radioactive. 

If the feminist movement, in its less radical incarnation, wanted to ensure that women be respected in the workplace and have the same career opportunities as men, then clearly #MeToo tells us that feminism failed. A zealot like Goldberg will react as all radical ideologues—by craving more and more radicalism. As she says, men must be forced to do what women tell them to do. Or better, what the feminist program prescribes. If you do not understand that this is going to produce blow back, push back and outright hostility you are living an ideological fairy tale.

Goldberg is current consumed by her “incendiary rage.” Apparently, she sees herself as a blowtorch. Of course, that is more the problem than the solution. Why would you want to hire women who are consumed by incendiary rage? Do you want a female blowtorch roaming around the office pretending to be strong and empowered? Do you want to do business with a woman who suffers from incendiary rage, who threatens to burn you, to blow you up, to destroy your life? Do you want to marry a woman who is burning up with rage against men? 

Goldberg gives herself an out when she says that she is really directing her blowtorch at Donald Trump, and when she allows that Democrats are generally to be excused their predations because they are moral paragons. Still, it does not take too many little gray cells to see that she has skewed the argument against Republicans because she wants to keep in touch with the Democrat men in her life. Being oblivious to the role the Clintons played in the current wave of harassment allegations might mask an effort, not just to gain political power, but to divide men against each other and to offer absolution to men who agree with her politics.


trigger warning said...

Re: Shelby Steele

"Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows"
--- Leonard Cohen

Ares Olympus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ares Olympus said...

Franks' article seemed to start out well, facing sexual harrassment the way I'd expect it should be faced - by immediate shaming of the perpetrator, rather than waiting for him to run for office 30 years later:

Franks: "My hopes rose — until I felt the hand slowly sneaking up my thigh. I dispatched him with an elbow in the torso. And the guy who grabbed my butt the next day got a swift back kick into the kneecap and a couple of four-letter words."

But further down she found a problem, other women didn't seem to share her willingness to put offensive men in their place:

Franks: "I was puzzled by the stories some women told about freezing up, unable to repel a boss or sometimes even a co-worker. A few maintained that when they did resist, they felt guilty and fearful..."

So this shows something of the nature of the problem. Even if there's no cost for women to speak up against harassment, socialization has told women to keep quiet, and to assume responsibility for the behavior of others. So it looks like the overreaction now is going on now is from a built up resentment against that self-imposed silencing.

trigger warning said...

"30 years later"

It wasn't 30 years.

Broaddrick was 1978. Jones was '91. Willey was '93.

And Tweeden was '08. :-D

Ares Olympus said...

TW, it looks like the charges against Roy Moore are 30+ years ago. But again, the issue should be, whether criminal or just offensive, behavior should be charged, challenged or shamed immediately. (And Tweeden DID confront Franken immediately on the wet kiss, so that's very good.)

Sam L. said...

If Hillary had been elected, would this have come out? Inquiring minds would like to know. But my first approximation is "no".

David Foster said...

"taken the restraints off the male id" shouldn't be forgotten that there is also such as thing as the female id, the behavior of which is not unrelated to male status and power.

A high-profile male rockstar will have no trouble finding women who are eager to hop in bed with him, even when they are not in the music field and hence he has no career benefits to offer them.

Sam L. said...

As for hiring these feminists, it would seem much like putting a time-bomb in your organization. Also, I keep seeing references to HR departments being mostly women. Haven't worked for a company big enough to have an HR department in the last 30 years, so I wouldn't know.

trigger warning said...

AO: Oh! You were talking about Roy Moore! The field was such a target-rich environment teeming with Democrats deeply committed to Womyn's Issues that I misunderstood. My bad. :-(

whitney said...

Michelle Goldberg is saying they're a bunch of Republicans in Silicon Valley and Wall Street because she's actually assuming that white men and Republicans are the same thing. That's how it reads to me anyway

JPL17 said...

Why would you want to hire women who are consumed by incendiary rage? Do you want a female blowtorch roaming around the office pretending to be strong and empowered? Do you want to do business with a woman who suffers from incendiary rage, who threatens ... to destroy your life?

No, of course not. But I think Barack Obama was consumed with incendiary rage too, and still managed to fool a majority of the country into believing he didn't hate western civilization. The radical feminists simply want to duplicate Obama's scam. And the fact that Americans didn't fall for the same scam when practiced by a woman is what's driving them crazy. The unfairness of it all makes Michele Goldberg foam at the mouth.

Ares Olympus said...

JPL17 said... But I think Barack Obama was consumed with incendiary rage too, and still managed to fool a majority of the country into believing he didn't hate western civilization.

I'm not sure I'd call this statement "thinking". Maybe you read some of Dinesh D'Souza's work. Did you know the Democrats are the party of slavery? At least somebody has been driven crazy, but we are unable to agree who is who.

There must be a name for this. Partisan psychosis?

Anonymous said...

I have often wondered, through living a long life, if much of this incendiary rage is not self hatred. For women, a significant number of feminists seem to hate being a woman. In many cases their most virulent rage is saved for women who are feminine in their outlook, actions and enjoy being women. Take Melania Trump or say Sarah H. Sanders, or for that matter any Republican woman, and the types of attacks the feminists use agains't them. It is almost always an attack of their womanhood.
Take Chelsea Handler's attacks on Trump, others as well. Whether she knows it or not she seems to be exhibiting her inner Trump.
Would it not be interesting if Judge Roy Moore was a closet homosexual? It is amazing how much people will do to hide who they are as an individual.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I have long suspected, with you, that a significant number of feminists hate being women.I'm not sure how to demonstrate it, but I agree with you that one piece of evidence is the way feminists attack non-feminists on the grounds of their womanliness. Thanks for making the important point.

Sam L. said...

Anon, you left out Sarah Palin.

Anonymous said...

Sam L,
I tried to be inclusive, but if I listed the number of women who've suffered at the hands of angry feminists I would be writing names for the next two weeks and still would not have covered but a small number of them.

JPL17 said...

Ares: You shouldn't drink and blog.

Sam L. said...

I accept your reasoning, Anon.

Ares Olympus said...

JPL17 said... Ares: You shouldn't drink and blog.

Thanks for your concern. I don't know why I never considered your irrational narratives as related to alcohol, but I'll presume you're the expert on what drunk writing feels like.

In literal fact, I'm close to Trump in this regard, never drank alcohol to any significant degree, and we both lost older brothers who died too young from addiction.

JPL17 said...

Too bad your foolishness *isn't* alcohol related. Because then it might wear off.