By: Marilyn Assenheim
Saturday’s Wall Street Journal contained a fascinating interview with noted liberal scholar, and not-so-incidentally feminist lesbian, Camille Paglia. Ms. Paglia delved into what she considers to be heinous attacks on masculinity in America. She warned of the dire consequences if attempts to feminize men continued. To her credit, Ms. Paglia is a free thinker. She does not march to anyone’s drummer but her own. But a free thinker, whether a statist or a Conservative, cannot be tolerated by the feminist cabal. Because Ms. Paglia doesn’t adhere to the strict tenet of “woman as perpetual victim of uncaring society” the lesbian contingent, never mind plain vanilla feminists, revile her. Feminist critics were keen to crucify not only Ms. Paglia’s carefully considered conclusions but her, as well.
One of the problems inherent with feminism (and just about any “ism” for that matter) is the utter, vitriolic absolutism that its disciples feverishly cling to. It is a glaringly apparent feature of every Balkanized group that our country has been fractured into. This fanatical stance toward any criticism of politically correct canon is religious in its fervor. Another name for it is fascism. Freedom of speech is critical to any cogent, rational argument. Successful communication can occur only when the freedom to express one’s views exists. It derives from logical thought and facts, whether the facts are likeable or not, instead of relying on furious doctrine. One is entitled to one’s opinion but there is a difference between opinion and fact. Facts require evidence. Feminism, like all radical sects, always confuses the two.
Too often feminism relies upon heated rhetoric, stemming from invalid extrapolations of events, fueled by emotion. Complaints, in typical fashion, twisted what the article contained and invented phantoms that weren’t in the article at all. The former, for example, affirmed that Paglia considers domestic date rape less heinous than rape and sexual mutilations routinely occurring internationally. Needless to say, this fiction was never voiced in the article. What was said was that feminism refuses to recognize housewives or acknowledge that rape and sexual mutilation, acceptable in other cultures, is a true war on women. Such denials make the feminist argument look like what it is; pathetically transparent hypocrisy. An example of invention was a derisive allegation of GOP intentions in choosing an incompetent Sarah Palin for the 2008 presidential ticket. Needless to say, Paglia never brought politics up. Comments about what the GOP did or didn’t intend are opinions not facts. So was their venomous disrespect for Sarah Palin; It is doubtful that smug acolytes of feminism know anything about Sarah Palin beyond swallowing Tina Fey’s drivel on Saturday Night Live. Sarah Palin who, through her own efforts, achieved heights that should be lauded by feminists. Conversely, feminism’s respect for the feckless Hillary Clinton, who never got anywhere except by clutching a man’s coattails, is vast. As is their lock-step, hero-worship of Bill Clinton. One can only wonder at the slavish devotion feminism conferred upon this serial, presidential rapist. The feminist movement’s slogan should have become “Put some ice on it.”
Paglia was falsely accused of “blaming the victims of rape.” Paglia simply stated the obvious; women should be mindful of what they do (e.g. flaunting provocative clothing) and be on their guard if they participate in what might be considered inflammatory behavior. Male or female, shouldn’t everyone be aware that their actions have consequences? That isn’t the same thing as a license for rape. Since when is the concept of personal responsibility anti-feminist? A fit analogy would be a man entering a dangerous neighborhood while flashing money and a gold Rolex. Such recklessness certainly doesn’t excuse robbery but wouldn’t robbery be avoided if the “victim” exercised caution?
Not least of the canards was the presumption that upper-class gang rapes are “on the rise” and that such attacks are generated “because of socio-economic privilege.” The critic went on to ridicule sympathy for college boys whose lives are destroyed by allegations of rape. Rape perpetrated by the upper-class was proclaimed to be condoned by our society. True, perhaps if committed by a Clinton or a Kennedy. But rape is not the purview of the rich. Statistics prove the incidence of rape among lower socio-economic strata has always been astronomically greater than rapes perpetrated by “the privileged class.” Sanctimony doesn’t make lies any truer.
Attempts to neuter men are applauded by Paglia’s feminist critics; failure to do so is tantamount to “doing nothing.” Paglia’s critics would rather try to change men into women-lite, rather than work at making brutish acts abhorrent.
Sadly for radical feminists, the world is (largely) divided into two genders. In the face of this inconvenient fact radical feminism has adopted victimization as their arena for disputing the moral high ground.